29 September 2012

Kenya: Cotu, FKE Oppose New NHIF Rates

Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica
Many mothers in Nairobi's slums opt to give birth at home because they can't afford the hospital and transport fees, according to nurse and midwife Alice Githae. Those that come to clinic often don't stay more than 24 hours, she says.

THE federation of Kenyan employees and Cotu have renewed their fight against the new National Hospital Insurance Fund rates. The two organisations said yesterday that they will not implement the new rates beginning October as directed by the Medical Services minister Anyang' Nyong'o until further consultation is done in line with the May agreement.

FKE executive director Jacqueline Mugo and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli said the employers and workers will not pay the new rates until the recommendation discussed by players are addressed.

"Recommendation of the special full board meeting of NHIF caretaker board that the new rates be degazzetted and allow for a wider consultation with stakeholders has been defied by the minister," Mugo said. She said employers will go to court to stop the government from implementing the new rates.

Cotu said Hotel and Allied Workers Union obtained court orders on Wednesday barring the implementation of the new rates and that Cotu has served the minister with the court order stopping the implementation for the new rates.

"We have obtained a court order this morning and served the interested parties to stop them from implementing the new rates until we agree", said Atwoli in Kisumu during a joint press conference between the two organisations. He questioned NHIF's ability to manage more money after allegedly failing to account for the Sh3 billion they collect annually.

The National Hospital Insurance Fund mid this month hiked its rates for salaried employees with implementation of the new rates set to begin next month.

Medical Services minister Anyang Nyong'o said the rise in NHIF remittances will allow Kenyans to access outpatient services affordably.

Under the new NHIF rates, the lowest paid employee earning Sh6,000 will contribute Sh150, while the highest paid employer earning Sh100,000 and above will part with Sh2,000 per month. Self-employed and volunteers will contribute Sh500 and Sh300 respectively.

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