By Nasibo Kabale
The government announced plans to collapse several publicly funded healthcare schemes under National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) once the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot phase is complete.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that Linda Mama, which provides a package of basic health services to pregnant women, Inua Jamii package for the elderly and the package for the severely disabled would no longer exist after the completion of the pilot phase.
“In addition, to boost efficiency, all publicly-financed insurance pools should be collapsed into a single pool,” he said.
The President said that after the UHC is rolled out nationwide, Kenyan residents in all the counties with a UHC (Afya Care) card will have access to free health services across County public health facilities making the public financed pools redundant.
The range of essential health services offered after UHC will include emergency services, child health services, maternal health services, mental health services, infectious disease management, non-communicable disease management, inpatient and outpatient services and community health services.
The money which is sent directly from Treasury to cater to the vulnerable groups would then be spent on UHC.
This year the government has allocated Sh3.2 billion to the schemes with over 500,000 old people offered the highest allocation of the funds.
Head of Policy Planning and Healthcare Financing at the Ministry of Health Dr David Kariuki said the money will likely be channelled towards UHC since everyone will be under the UHC program.
Linda Mama is a basic healthcare package that targets expectant mothers who are otherwise unable to pay for healthcare services. Through this initiative, pregnant women as well as infants have access to quality healthcare for six months after delivery at no charge.
Senior citizens aged over 70 who are identified by the State Department of Social Protection are offered a non-contributory social pension of Sh2,000 as well as insurance cover similar to the Supa Cover offered by NHIF.
This year, the State Department of Social Protection has identified 523,000 beneficiaries who are to benefit from the funds. This number is likely to grow every year with more people getting older.
The disabled on the other hand are identified by the government and are also entitled to the same package as the other members.