KENYA – The government is set to roll out the National Social Health Insurance Fund by July 1 as part of its Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda.

Speaking in Nairobi when she officially opened the two-day national cancer summit, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha said the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will soon be known as National Social Health Insurance Fund (NSHIF).

The CS said this will ensure that Kenyans of all walks of life get access to better health care. 

Nakhumicha said the UHC program has identified cancer as a priority focus area to accelerate access to care services with a reduced financial burden.  

She said through collaboration with county governments, her ministry has enhanced access to cancer screening. In line with the summit theme ‘uniting our voices and taking action Nakhumicha called upon noble partners and well-wishers to join hands with her ministry in ensuring its rolls out universal health coverage together.

Health Cabinet Secretary Wafula Nakhumicha says the national government is currently looking for funds and will engage partners in a robust funds drive to raise billions of shillings which will be used to register Kenyans into the new insurance fund so that Kenyans can access medical health whenever they need it.

“Currently, NHIF is already running some schemes that take care of different cohorts of people. We have the one for the elderly, orphaned children, Linda Mama and Edu Afya,” CS Nakhumicha said.

“What we are going to do with the NSHIF is we want to bring the funds together so that we no longer have them in silos. When we have the schemes together, we do fundraising that gives us almost Ksh.12.6 billion (US$101.04m).”

According to the CS, the new mode of insurance will be similar to putting up national fundraising that ensures any capable individual or person contributes to the scheme for the betterment of the other.

She likened the scheme to raising funds in a WhatsApp group or a social media platform saying the government was consolidating different agencies to raise the required funds.

“We are now doing the Math to see how much more should the government add so that each and every Kenyan can be able to access health care. We have done a costing and we know with this fundraising, we want to look for funds from elsewhere such as Tobacco Funds, Sports Funds, the money that comes from bettin a fraction of it and put them together to form the basis of NSHIF,” she explained. 

“You and I can afford healthcare, when our people are sick, it is you and I in WhatsApp groups raising funds; what about if we do one major fundraising rather than having WhatsApp Groups?”

The National Cancer Summit

The summit seeks to review the status of the cancer response to date in line with the Cancer Prevention and Control Act 2012 and the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.

The summit also aims to commit to a joint action plan and define a results accountability framework for cancer prevention and control in Kenya.

The health sector stakeholders also aim to highlight the role of multi-sectoral strategies among stakeholders and showcase innovations, technologies and best practices in the cancer response.

Key topics expected to dominate the event include cancer and risk factors, the impact of the cost of cancer on households and private sector collaborations with the government to deliver on the Vision 2030 agenda.

On his part, Kisumu county governor Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o said Cancer Summit provides a golden opportunity for Africans to join hands and redesign our cancer interventions.

Cancer remains a public health concern in Kenya, it is the third leading cause of death in Kenya. In 2020, 42,000 new cases were reported in the country with 27,000 cancer related deaths.

The summit is being held as part of our build up activities towards the global commemoration of World Cancer Day held in February each year.

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