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Governors meet Health CS over new bills, query fate of existing FIF bill

Health CS Nakhumicha with the governors

The National Government and the Council of Governors (COG) are currently meeting in Nairobi to discuss the four health bills that were approved recently by the Cabinet.

According to the government, the Primary Health Care Bill, 2023; The Digital Health Bill, 2023; The Facility Improvement Financing Bill, 2023; and The Social Health Insurance Bill, 2023 seek to accelerate the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as set out under Kenya Kwanza’s Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

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The crucial bills that the Cabinet says will usher in a paradigm in the legal and institutional framework for healthcare in Kenya will be tabled in Parliament once lawmakers resume from recess.

If they okay them, one of the radical changes is the scrapping of the current National Health Insurance Fund which will be replaced by three funds namely the Primary Healthcare Fund; Social Health Insurance Fund; and Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund.

According to Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, the meeting with the county bosses who are key stakeholders in the health sector is to appraise them on the progress of the bills and seek their input as well.

The governors who met the health top officials including Ag Health Director General  Patrick Amoth are Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki who is also the chair of the health committee of COG,  Vihiga Governor Wilber Otichilo, Busia Governor Paul Otuoma, Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani among others.

However, the governors through their health committee chair are raising concerns over the new Facility Improvement Fund 2023 despite 30 counties having passed a similar bill.

Muthoki Njuki says the bill seeks to claw back on the gains of devolution especially in the health sector that has been devolved.

He says that counties spent resources to ensure their own FIF bill 2023 and queried what will happen to the said bills if the proposed one supersedes theirs.

Only 17 counties have not passed the bill that allows health facilities to manage the funds they generate. They have until December 2023 to do so.

The government insists the new bill will create a robust and efficient healthcare infrastructure.

“By facilitating financing mechanisms to upgrade and expand healthcare facilities, this legislation ensures that quality care is within reach for all citizens, no matter their geographical location,” the health CS said upon passing of the bills by Cabinet which she termed a game changer.

Margaret Kalekye/Abdiaziz Hashim
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