The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is established under the National Hospital Insurance Fund act. The objects and functions of the Fund through its Board of Management is to receive contributions stipulated by the Act and make payment out of the Fund to declared hospitals.
That if one contributes the set monthly, yearly contribution then if the contributor or his or her child or spouse falls sick in the year of contribution will be treated in the hospitals accredited by the Fund and the Fund will pay for the treatment, hospitalization in the cover paid for. NHIF membership is open to those in formal employment and whose contributions are deducted from their salaries by the employer and remitted to the Fund and for those who are self-employed, one can contribute directly do NHIF. The lowest contribution for the self-employed being Kshs. 500 per month or Kshs. 6000 per year. Nearly 80% of the married couples in Western Kenya are employed or self-employed as farmers, bodabodas, traders, etc and can afford the Kshs 500 per month if they treasure their health and the health status of the family.
It is only through health insurance like NHIF that one can safely state that he or she or their family members are prepared to confront sickness when it comes calling. It is incumbent upon every adult man and woman in the Counties of the former Western Province and Trans Nozia County to register with NHIF if they value their health. There are no two ways about it for without health, one is dead or staring death in the eye. Is it any wonder the regions life expectancy keeps going down instead of increasing?
But the statistics from the NHIF on how many people from the Counties of the former Western Province and Trans Nzoia are contributors tell the true story of whether or not most of us value, prize our health and the health status of our families.
Kakamega County with a population of slightly over 1,660,689 has 132,373 registered NHIF contributors, Bungoma County with a population of slightly over 1,375,093 has 85,176 NHIF contributors, Busia County with a population of slightly over 743,098 has 40,374 NHIF contributors, Vihiga County with a population of slightly over 554,634 has 32,802 NHIF contributors, Trans Nzoia County with a population of slightly over 1,100,974 has 97,212 NHIF contributors.
So how will we explain why Nandi County with a population of about 752,965 has 101,187NHIF contributors compared to Bungoma with a higher population? Health is too important a matter for those who can afford to leave it to the mercy of the County Governments. The County Governors, the County Public servants, the County Assembly public servants the Members of County Assemblies all have Health Insurance covers from leading insurance companies and they are treated in the best private hospitals. Do not be cheated that they care a hoot whether or not the public hospitals in their Counties work or not. They would only have cared if they and their families were forced to seek medical care from those hospitals.
It is the challenge for the County Governments of the former Western Province to sensitize and educate their residents to enrol with NHIF so that their healthcare is assured as those hospitals that are accredited with NHIF have better facilities and even the costs in the public hospitals will be substantially offset by the NHIF contribution. The County Government will correspondingly be able to offer better health care for now they are overwhelmed because they continue to preach the gospel of free healthcare.
We must encourage our people to be proud to be in personal control of their families’ health care, education and self-reliance in fending for them. The low enrolment by residents of the region with NHIF must be addressed and if we are to truly say we are prepared to compete with the other Counties of Kenya. Counties tell us why the NHIF enrolment in your region is pathetic? Is it lack of sensitization or truly poverty?