• Wednesday, 24 July 2024
The government has been cautioned against threatening Kenyans with SHIF penalties

The government has been cautioned against threatening Kenyans with SHIF penalties

Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has advised the government to seek alternative measures in imploring Kenyans to register for the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), citing that imposing stiff penalties is a recipe for disaster. 

 

Speaking during a panel discussion on Daybreak on Wednesday, KMA President Dr. Simon Kigondu noted that the move by the government to deny essential services to Kenyans who don't register for SHIF would force people to have a negative perception towards the Fund.

He noted that the current economic woes affecting Kenyans are caused by the high interest rates instituted by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), which have a ripple effect on the cost of living.  

He appealed to Central Bank of Kenya governor Kamau Thugge to lower the interest rates to allow for a more conducive environment and increase the taxpayer's purchasing power. 

 

"You can't threaten Kenyans with penalties for not registering with SHIF or in case there's a delay or default in payment. I recommend CBK Governor Kamau Thugge to reduce rates because we can't be working towards paying banks. Banks should stop doing business with banks," he said. 

"Currently, we're having increased CBK rates, the bank takes our money, goes to gov't which doesn't make the environment conducive so we're paying more for all the things."

During the interview, Dr. Kigondu also defended the OccupyMOH protests that has seen hundreds of medical, dental and pharmacy interns storm the Ministry of Health headquarters while demanding Health CS Susan Nakhumicha's resignation. 

He reiterated that the association would pitch camp outside MOH until the interns are posted and their grievances are heard. 

 

The government's commitment to achieving universal health coverage will be anchored on SHIF that will repeal the current National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). 

The Fund, which is set to begin in October, will see employed Kenyans part with 2.75 per cent of their salaries in monthly deductions while those in the informal sector pay Ksh.500 monthly. 

The Fund will be mandatory for all Kenyans unlike NHIF whereby those informal sector made voluntary contributions. Through the mass registration drive, which began on July 1, 2024, the government targets over 17 million youths who are currently not registered as NHIF members. 

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