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NHIF bows out 58 years later, as new fund takes over

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 02:05 | By
Health CS, Nakhumicha Wafula when she led the commencement of the NHIF Asset Verification Exercise, marking a significant step towards the transition to the Social Health Authority (SHA) at Afya house in Nairobi yesterday. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya
Health CS, Nakhumicha Wafula when she led the commencement of the NHIF Asset Verification Exercise, marking a significant step towards the transition to the Social Health Authority (SHA) at Afya house in Nairobi yesterday. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya

It is the end of an era for the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) after 58 years of financial health services to Kenyans following yesterday’s launch of the final process to replace it with the Social Health Authority (SHA).

The writing was on the wall. The monstrous NHIF’s time had been set, and now in the next 48 days, it will be gone for good.

Perhaps, Kenyans can only physically remember the building at the Community area that will also be renamed to represent SHA, the new entity. Maybe it will be a few valuables for Kenyans who may want to remember the Fund such as the card and other printed merchandise.

As part of this process, a transition committee kicked off the verification of assets and liabilities of the defunct Fund in readiness for the SHA taking over financial health service delivery for Kenyans from July 1, 2024.

“We have committed to have SHA up and running from July 1 and registration of households will start this month of May,” Health cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha said at Afya House Grounds yesterday where she flagged off a 50-member team of assets and liabilities assessors.

She assured Kenyans that the government will be ready to serve Kenyans when the SHA starts to deliver services for them. However, she emphasised that while the phasing out programme for the defunct body is ongoing, Kenyans will still continue accessing services under the NHIF.

“While this transition is happening, I want to assure all Kenyans that NHIF is still active and working,” she stated.

Transition Committee

Nakhumicha called on health service providers, and facilities to continue providing services to Kenyans, referring to the announcement she made early in the month that the Ministry had begun payment all verified pending bills for NHIF following receipt of necessary funds from Treasury.

“We will continue to settle all legitimate claims to ensure no Kenyan is denied services,” the CS said, appreciating the Transition Committee for dedicating time to the exercise.

The Transition Committee chaired by Jason Kap-Kirwok comprise of experts drawn from the National Treasury and Economic Planning; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development, and the Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy.

SHA will manage three funds, all serving Kenyans seeking healthcare services from Level 1 to 6, to ensure a seamless delivery.

“As you are aware Kenya has made health financing one of key pillars for delivery of Universal Health Coverage.

Primary healthcare

“Towards this end, the Government enacted the Social Health Insurance Act in 2023 and published Regulations early this year establishing three (3) funds including the Primary Healthcare Fund (PHCF), Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), and Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund (ECCF) under the umbrella of the SHA,” she said.

The CS said the verification exercise will enable smooth transition of NHIF to SHA.

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