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MPs push for public inquiry into NHIF scam

A public inquiry into the medical fraud involving the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will be launched soon.

The Parliamentary Committee of Health made the announcement Tuesday after a meeting with the top management.

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This follows an expose’ on how some private hospitals were colluding with unscrupulous NHIF staff to swindle the fund millions of shillings through fictitious claims.

The committee chair Endebess MP Robert Pukose said only a comprehensive probe would unravel the truth behind the massive fraud adding that it was time radical changes were undertaken at the health insurance.

“We, as a committee, cannot turn a blind eye to the misappropriation of public resources within NHIF. The only path to uncover the truth behind the NHIF crisis is through a public inquiry,” he said.

“Next week, we will convene to establish the terms of reference for the inquiry and invite all relevant stakeholders to present their knowledge of the situation at NHIF,” he added.

Part of the probe would focus on alleged preferential treatment enjoyed by privately-owned hospitals over public health institutions.

Moyale MP Prof. Guyo Waqo Jaldesa who is part of the 15-member committee says it is still incomprehensible how a private hospital could perform more surgeries than renowned public facilities such as Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH).

Supporting the proposal for a public inquiry, Mogotio MP Reuben Kiborek regretted the persistent fraudulent activities at the insurance fund.

“If we aim to establish Universal Health Insurance (UHC), we must address the deep-rooted corruption at NHIF, even if it entails removing the entire NHIF board of management and directors,” said Kiborek.

His sentiments were supported by Nyeri Town MP Dancun Mathenge who said only a public inquiry would expose the rot at NHIF.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) has already suspended all eight medical facilities implicated in the scandal.

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