One million vulnerable families across the country are set to be enrolled under the Universal Health Care (UHC) scheme once the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) bill is passed into law.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Sabina Chege said already the families to benefit through UHC have been identified and added, once the bill sails through they will start accessing free medical care.
She said the Senate made some changes to the bill which the Committee has adopted adding on January 22, the bill will be tabled in the National Assembly.
“Between 22nd and 23rd of January, the bill will be in the National Assembly and once it is passed it will be presented to the President for assent. Once the bill becomes law, by the end of January, the listed families will start receiving free medical care,” Chege said when she led a walk in Murang’a town on Saturday to sensitize locals on mental health care.
Chege, who is the Murang’a Woman representative, noted that in the current financial year, Sh6 billion has been factored in the Health Ministry allocation to roll out UHC.
“When the government rolled out UHC in four counties two years ago, it was established the scheme would only benefit the most vulnerable families. In Murang’a 22, 000 families were identified to be enlisted in the scheme,” Chege said.
In the revised proposal presented to the NHIF, the UHC is expected in future to benefit about 5 million vulnerable families across the country.
The bill also seeks to have every Kenyan to be a member of NHIF to support provision of cheap medical care.
Chege observed that after rolling out the UHC scheme, the government targets to increase the number of beneficiaries to more than 4 million within a period of two years.
She further noted that her Committee together with other health stakeholders are currently engaged in discussions to explore ways of lowering the cost of medical care in the country.
High costs of medication, Chege said, is affecting many families which cannot afford treatment for their loved ones.
“We are in deliberations with key stakeholders in the health sector with a view to finding ways to lower the cost of medical care. Several families have been unable to bury their loved ones after they could not foot accumulated hospital bills,” Chege stated.
Meanwhile Chege said her office had initiated walks to sensitize residents about mental health, which she observed has not been given the due attention needed.
She argued that a section of Kenyans is suffering from depression thus the need to be given emotional and medical attention.
“When the Covid-19 pandemic hit our country, some people lost their source of livelihood, others lost their loved ones and these among other reasons subjected them to mental challenges including depression. There is a need for those affected to get needed help,” Chege added.