11 February 2004

Kenya: Free Healthcare Set for July

Nairobi — A new scheme to pay hospital bills for all Kenyans will take effect on July 1, Health minister Charity Ngilu revealed yesterday.

Ngilu said membership to the National Social Health Insurance Fund will be compulsory and free for poor Kenyans.

Unlike in the past when medical cover was only available to people in formal employment, unemployed Kenyans and those in the Jua kali (informal) sector will now benefit, Ngilu said.

The fund, which will cater for both in and out-patient, will enable the Government to provide anti-retroviral drugs to Aids patients, who Ngilu said occupy half of hospital beds in the country.

She said the Government was fine-tuning plans for the fund's implementation. More than 90 per cent of Kenyans lack a comprehensive health cover, while 25 per cent do not seek medical care due to lack of funds.

"The President said Kenya should turn into a working nation. We cannot have a working nation when people are sick," Ngilu said.

Ngilu was speaking at a workshop for permanent secretaries and chief executives of parastatals in Nairobi yesterday.

Copyright © 2004 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.