High Court suspends implementation of Social Health Insurance Fund

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High Court suspends implementation of Social Health Insurance Fund





Barely a week after Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha issued a Gazette notice operationalising the Social Health Insurance Fund,





the high court has slammed the brakes on the implementation and enforcement of the Social Health Insurance Fund Act 2023, the Primary Health Care Act 2023 and the Digital Health Act 2023 until a case challenging its legality is heard.





The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) made good its threat to challenge the implementation of the social health insurance scheme.





The doctors’ union obtained court orders stopping the government from the planned rollout of the universal health coverage envisioned in the laws whose rollout President William Ruto had announced would be in January 2024.




KMPDU has argued that the government has gone ahead with the implementation of the social health insurance act without engaging stakeholders to resolve the contentious issues.




The doctors’ union took issue with section 26(5) of the SHIF Act which provides that;





“Any person who is registerable as a member in this act shall produce proof of compliance with the provisions of this Act on registration and contribution as a precondition of accessing public services from the national government, county government or national and county government entities.”




The union says it will disenfranchise Kenyan citizens from accessing government services.




This development came hours after the health CS met the staff of the national health insurance fund to discuss the transition into the new scheme, assuring them that the transition which will lead to job losses will be done in a dignified manner,





“After that structure is given, is when we will do a suitability test to determine who will move to SHIF. The act also provides that should you not meet the criteria to have the option of early retirement,” Nakhumicha said.





“For those exiting, I’m sure you’ll want to know what the exit package is. We have agreed to a team of people from the ministry, NHIF and the Public Service Commission to sit together and develop a package.




There’s also the option of being moved to another sector of the public service to continue serving… That operation is still there and that’s one option I can guarantee you that your current salary will be guaranteed. For those who will transition to SHA the terms will not be the same.”





The health CS warned NHIF staff against attempts to sabotage the transition to the Social Health Authority.

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