A total of 20,000 families will be able to access medical care free of charge after the Lamu County government signed an agreement with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
The health scheme, which will cost the county government Sh120 million in the 2018/2019 budget, targets only households which are economically vulnerable and who cannot afford to enroll into the insurance cover.
Speaking shortly after signing the deal with NHIF on Thursday evening, Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha said the county government arrived at the decision to register the 20,000 poor and needy families to the scheme to eliminate the universal healthcare cost barrier.
Mr Twaha said the enrolment of the families is in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda which includes universal healthcare.
“Today marks the end of the struggles and agony that the poor and needy families in Lamu have been experiencing in the course of accessing medical care. It’s the duty of counties to help the government achieve the Big Four Agenda in whichever way they can. Any leadership should be considerate towards those who can’t afford it. Each of the families will have its own NHIF card that is fully paid by the county government,” said Mr Twaha.
He added: “This mechanism is a response to providing the assurance that the health services the people need are available, affordable and of good quality. This prevents people from being driven into poverty as a result of paying for health services out of their own pocket,” he said.
CURB MATERNAL DEATHS
Speaking at the same event, NHIF Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Mwangi said they will fully cooperate with the county government in ensuring the programme works effectively.
“We are happy as NHIF to have signed MoU to enable the residents to access quality, affordable and accessible healthcare with NHIF. We will cooperate in ensuring such a programme works for the betterment of the citizens,” said Mr Mwangi.
So far, the registration of the most vulnerable families who will start benefiting from the programme has already kicked off across the county.
In July, the county government inked a Sh300 million deal with Safaricom Foundation aimed at boosting maternal, newborn and child healthcare and curbing maternal and child deaths in the region.