Ruto says Social Health Insurance Fund will bring equity among Kenyans

Friday, October 20th, 2023 13:17 | By
President William Ruto in Kericho
President William Ruto in Kericho. PHOTO/@K24Tv/X

President William Ruto has hailed the new Social Health Insurance Fund as a leveller for all Kenyans seeking healthcare in the journey towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Speaking during the 14th Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kericho, Ruto said the fund, which is set to replace the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), signifies a shift to increased use of domestic resources for health financing and a sustainable approach.

"We are implementing a per-household payment system, where a flat rate applies to everyone, regardless of their income. Consider this for example, previously, an individual earning Ksh 10,000 had to part with Ksh 500 to NHIF, a hefty 5% of their earnings. On the other hand, those with salaries of Ksh 100,000 or more contributed Ksh 1,700, a mere 1.7% of their income," Ruto said.

"Astonishingly, even someone with a monthly income of Ksh 1 million, say, the President, paid the same amount - Ksh1700, which translates to a paltry 0.17% of their substantial earnings. This bizarre setup meant that low-income earners were effectively subsidizing high-income earners."

According to government statistics, health insurance coverage in Kenya is generally low at 26 per cent, with those at the bottom of the economic pyramid having the least coverage of less than 5 per cent.

"The Social Health Insurance Fund also signifies a shift to increased use of domestic resources for health financing and a sustainable approach, especially at a time when resources from donors and development partners are dwindling. The healthcare system in Kenya is largely focused on curative services at the expense of preventive and promotive services. This has occasioned inequity in financing, which has disadvantaged primary healthcare uptake and promotion," he added.

Ruto flags health promoters

Ruto flagged 100,000 community health promoters who will focus on basic preventive and promotive health, health education, basic first aid for the treatment of minor injuries and ailments at the household level and referral for facility-based healthcare.

Each community health promoter is allocated 100 homes within their neighbourhoods countrywide.

Community Health Promoters at Kericho Green Stadium.
Community Health Promoters at Kericho Green Stadium. PHOTO/@K24Tv/X

Ruto also revealed that the government had set aside Ksh3 billion annually for payment of the stipends to the promoters.

"It is worth noting that, as of today, over one million households in 10 counties have been visited by community health promoters," the President said.

The government will also provide the community health promoters with kits which contain basic equipment for household health screening, medicines and supplies used for service provision at the household level.

"The shift from curative to preventive healthcare will further be strengthened by the promotive services provided by community health promoters at the household units, and the integration of preventive services at the primary healthcare levels," Ruto added.

"These services will include screening for hypertension, diabetes and eye conditions; offering the necessary health education on water and sanitation, nutrition and providing community rehabilitation services, among others. These services will be provided through multidisciplinary teams that will be established at the level of the Primary Care networks."

On Thursday, October 19, 2023, Ruto signed into law three health-related bills including the Social Health Insurance Act, 2023, Primary Health Care Act, 2023, Facility Improvement Financing Act, 2023 and Digital Health Act, 2023.

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