Amref Health Africa, leading health research and awareness organization in Africa has announced plans to create innovative solutions to increase access to basic medical care in Kenya.
The organization which now has a new strategic plan 2018-20122 for Kenya says it will work with community based organizations to promote Community Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS).
According to Amref Health Africa in Kenya’s Country Director in Kenya, Dr Meshack Ndirangu, schemes such as M-TIBA – which enables people to save, send, receive and pay money for medical treatment through a mobile wallet on their phones – are highly recommended.
He said access to quality and affordable healthcare in Kenya remains a challenge with a low uptake of the government run medical insurance provider National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Dr Ndirangu said uptake of NHIF remains a challenge due to unaffordability and lack of understanding of the benefits of a health insurance scheme.
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Amref Health Africa plans increase the skills of 120,000 health workers to support enrollment of at least 20 million Kenyans onto NHIF. The NHIF currently covers 6.2 million Kenyans (15% of the population), an increase from 3.8 million in 2013.
“Amref will aim to influence the review of the NHIF package to accommodate a lower tier for those who cannot afford the minimum payment,” said Ndirangu. Amref has operations and diverse health programmes covering all 47 counties in Kenya with a current annual average budget of Kshs 4 billion (US$ 40 million).
The Kenyan government has developed a raft of proposals to increase coverage and promote universal health coverage under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big four’ agenda. Health Cabinet Secretary for Health, Sicily Kariuki has said that one of the measures will include configuring NHIF to accommodate community health workers to improve NHIF coverage.
“My Ministry intends to work with partners like Amref Health Africa to extend NHIF coverage through use of extensive community health workers network,” says Kariuki.