NHIF troubles in Kenya

The Kenyan government is set to table the Social Health Insurance Bill in parliament after the conclusion of public participation. 


The bill is part of a series of legislative measures aimed at enacting the Universal Health Care (UHC) program, which is scheduled to begin next month.

The Social Health Insurance Bill seeks to establish the Social Health Insurance Fund, which will replace the existing National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). 


Its implementation could lead to an increase in taxes to finance the provision of health services as envisaged under the act.

The Social Health Insurance Fund will cater to preventive, promotive, and primary care services at community, dispensary, and health centre levels. 


 It will also establish a chronic illness and emergency fund to provide for chronic illnesses. However, some of the proposed measures in the bill may be controversial.


To raise the required funds, the government plans to deduct 2.75% of the gross pay of every taxpayer. This includes all households, non-Kenyan residents residing in Kenya for more than a year, the national and county governments, and any other employer.

“We are initiating the journey to register every household in Kenya so that we can have the details on the health requirements, conditions on the preponderance of whatever disease in every part of Kenya so that our health facilities and delivery will not be based anymore on guesswork but will be based on details accumulated by our community health promoter,” said President Ruto.

The government's ability to provide these health services will depend on accurate data on eligible citizens. 


To this end, the government will begin registering every household in Kenya to gather information on the health requirements, disease prevalence, and other relevant data. 


The community health promoters will conduct this data collection exercise, which is expected to provide a more informed basis for health facilities and delivery planning.

The community health promoters will be supported by a stipend from both the national and county governments. 


However, there have been some concerns raised by county governments regarding the lack of uniformity in the payment of these stipends and the possibility that the national government may not honour its pledge, leading to additional unbudgeted bills for counties. 

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