KENYA —The Ministry of Health, led by Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, has announced that contributions to the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) will now commence on July 1 instead of March 1, 2024, as previously announced.

This decision came forth during a national validation exercise held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), and is intended to facilitate discussions with the Council of Governors.

Among those who attended the event included H.E Muthomi Njuki, Chair of the Health Committee – Council of Governors, Senator Jackson Mandago, Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee of Health and  Hon. Patrick Munene, the Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Health.

Others were Ms Mary Muthoni, Permanent Secretary of the State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards; Dr. Timothy Olweny, Chairperson of the Social Health Authority; and Dr. Francis Atwoli, Secretary General of COTU, among others.

SHIF forms a critical component of a comprehensive healthcare reform package, alongside the Digital Health Act, the Primary Health Care Act, and the Facility Improvement Financing Act.

It mandates a 2.75% monthly income contribution from every Kenyan household, with the aim of generating over Sh57 billion annually, primarily from the informal sector, to support the country’s healthcare needs.

Earlier in February, the Council of Governors (CoG) expressed opposition to revenue-sharing proposals from the Kenya Kwanza administration.

They argued that budget allocations from the National Treasury and the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) inadequately address county needs.

Specifically, the CoG advocated for the inclusion of SHIF, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and the suspended housing levy in the revenue-sharing formula.

Despite engagements with the National Treasury and CRA, a significant gap persisted between proposed revenue figures.

The CoG insisted on an allocation of Sh450 billion to counties, citing factors such as annual salary increments, revenue growth, and rising operational costs.

At the time, the Chairperson Anne Waiguru of the CoG emphasized the necessity for the National Government to reconsider its stance to enable counties to fulfill their responsibilities effectively.

During the national validation exercise, issues such as the mean testing tool for non-salaried contributors and the incorporation of county governments into the transition committee overseeing the shift from NHIF to SHIF were highlighted.

On his part, H.E Muthomi Njuki, highlighted the need for county government inclusion in the transition committee overseeing the shift from NHIF to SHIF.

He also raised concerns regarding the speed of addressing claims to public hospitals, emphasizing the need for inclusivity in the committee’s composition.

CS Nakhumicha acknowledges feedback received from various stakeholders, rating the new regulations at 75 to 80 percent sufficient to implement the SHA Act.

However, she acknowledged the need to address existing loopholes and concerns raised by different quarters.

Registration for the new fund will take place between March and June 30, with contributions starting at a rate of 2.75 per cent and a minimum payment of Sh300. Existing NHIF members will need to register afresh for the new scheme.

In response to county governments’ concerns and those of other stakeholders, Cabinet Secretary Nakhumicha assured that these concerns would be addressed before presenting the regulations to Parliament for approval.  

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