Protecting School Medical Insurance Against Corruption
It is troubling that a new board war has broken out at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
The disputes not only undermine the implementation of medical insurance for public secondary school students, but they also have implications for the rollout of the government’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program.
The comprehensive medical curriculum for secondary school students, popularly known as EduAfya, was unveiled during former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term and was part of the administration’s Big Four Jubilee program to enable the access to affordable health care for all Kenyans.
As a public health insurer, the NHIF is a key part of the UHC plan. The turf wars between the chief executive and the chair of the board reflect integrity issues that have in the past raised concerns about the institution’s ability to play its assigned important role in the system. of health in Kenya.
An internal audit of the program reportedly uncovered irregularities that led to some 17 health care providers’ contracts with the EduAfya program being revoked.
The program controls more than 4 billion shillings each year, with the taxpayer paying premiums of 1,350 shillings per pupil in public schools to enable them to access outpatient, dental, hospital, optical, emergency, road rescue treatment and abroad.
Given the public interest in the matter, the Ministry of Education should order an independent audit of the regime, punish any officials found guilty and put in place mechanisms to protect them from corruption.