By John Kiragu, (BScN, MPH Student)
Kenyan families will have to pay for COVID-19 related hospital bills since the current establishment of NHIF will not insure COVID-19 patients. This is according to the press statement by CS for Health Mutahi Kagwe on 11th November 2020.
In March 2020, the Government of Kenya promised to cater for COVID-19 related hospital expenses. However, in our previous blog post on “What are the Risks of COVID-19 related health costs on Kenyan Families and on COVID-19 containment measures“, we argued that the current NHIF/covid19-fund establishment would not feasibly support universal access to COVID-19 health care. We illustrated the negative impact of leaving the COVID-19 health care expenses to be paid for by the Kenyan households. These included catastrophic spending and resultant continued impoverishment, and COVID-19 hospital cost being a hindrance to COVID-19 containment and contact tracing measures.
Hence we made a suggestion for urgent health financing reforms to protect the informal working group which is mostly underinsured, uninsured, and likely to have defaulted in Health Insurance Premiums(NHIF and others) due to loss of jobs related to COVID restrictions.