The Central Organization of Trade Unions, COTU (K) fully supports the list of service providers that the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) published in the local dailies last week and the NHIF should stand firm and resist any attempts by the Kenya Association of Private Hospitals led by its Chairman to arm-twist the NHIF for their own selfish interests.
It has been in the interest of the contributors that the NHIF contracts and enters into agreement with all public hospitals and health service providers to provide services to the contributing members since these facilities are readily available, accessible and spread across the country and the NHIF should now go further and demand that a complete and fully equipped wing be set aside by all the listed health service providers mainly for NHIFcard holders so that all members who are contributing to the NHIF can walk in and get services within the shortest possible time and walk out satisfied with the services being offered by these health facilities.
However, COTU (K) urges the NHIF to seriously consider setting aside more allocation for its outpatient cover since the cited figure of Kshs.1,200 capitation per year is inadequate for any public health service provider to guarantee quality services to the contributors.
The Kenyan workers and contributors are alive to the fact that the earlier roll-out of the new NHIF scheme was hampered by massive corruption and open looting orchestrated by various private health service providers colluding with unscrupulous individuals at the NHIF to siphon money from the fund for both non-existing services nor even facilities with the case now in court and for the NHIF to move forward and regain the confidence of contributors, its pre-occupation should be with public health service providers by entering into abinding memorandum with them after which the NHIF management can now go out and vet the existing private service providers with ascertaining their credibility and commitment to providing quality services to the contributors and workers seeing these services.
Lest any attempts for the private hospital to demand an equal or majority share in providing their services to contributors will be fully resisted by COTU (K) and I will stand by the NHIF and its Chairman Muhamud Ali in defending this position because already we have been beaten once by entrusting the scheme earlier in the private health service providers only to realize our mistake after losing millions to non-existing health facilities that were only available on paper.
Francis Atwoli, EBS, MBS