NHIF: Cotu accused of inciting workers

Wednesday September 29 2010

Medical Services assistant minister Kazungu Kambi during the presentation of preliminary findings on performance needs assessment on Kenya Health Training System on September 29, 2010. He accused Cotu of inciting its membership against paying the new National Hospital Insurance Fund charges. JENNIFER MUIRURI

Medical Services assistant minister Kazungu Kambi during the presentation of preliminary findings on performance needs assessment on Kenya Health Training System on September 29, 2010. He accused Cotu of inciting its membership against paying the new National Hospital Insurance Fund charges. JENNIFER MUIRURI 

By DAVE OPIYO, [email protected]

The government has hit out at Kenya workers' body for inciting its membership against paying the new National Hospital Insurance Fund charges.

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli has been told to stop politicising the matter, which will enable many poor Kenyans have access to improved health care.

“We can play politics with other issues but not on an issue that touches on people’s lives,” said Mr Kazungu Kambi, the assistant minister for Medical Services Wednesday.

“Cotu is out to incite people not to give a penny for this noble course. If this happens, it will not be fair to the many Kenyans who cannot afford to pay their medical bill,” he said.

“In Germany for instance, their health care services are superior to ours because they pay for it. I therefore see no reason why we should also not embrace this scheme.”

Mr Atwoli has pointed to political interference in the case because the NHIF rates were revised without adequate consultations.

Cotu has threatened to issue a 21 day strike notice to push the government to halt the payments.

Its intended move follows Monday’s ruling by Mombasa’s Industrial Court which endorsed the revised rates that will see employees pay a maximum of Sh2,000 and the lowest pay Sh150.

Currently, the highest charge is Sh320 per month while the lowest is Sh30.

The targeted annual contribution is Sh19.4 billion while the benefit pay out will be Sh15.5 billion or 80 percent of the total contributions.

Under the new NHIF rates, outpatient and inpatient services will be covered.

Mr Kambi said they were going to establish teams whose main task will be to explain to Kenyans the benefits of the new scheme.

The assistant minister spoke when he presided over the launch of an interim report on the performance needs assessment in private health sector facilities and training institutions in the country.

The report gave a wide range of recommendations on how health training systems could be improved as the country moves to attain Vision 2030.

It recommends that more resources be set aside, especially in the Information Communication and Technology sectors, increase opportunities in training faculty and clinical instructors in content and teaching methods.

The report further recommends the reduction in educational and occupational segregation, sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination which continues to threaten gender equity in health care training.

“The preliminary findings of this assessment should be used to improve curriculum for the training of health workers so that it meets specific needs of the health sector,” said Mr Kambi.

He said that the government was determined to strengthen health systems at the national and county levels so as to meet local needs and maintain high levels of management of the staff who deliver services to Kenyans.

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof George Magoha said his institution was in the process of reviewing the curriculum of doctors and other health care providers in various disciplines in order to meet the vision 2030 aspirations.