President William Ruto’s recent enactment of the Universal Health Care Bill has drawn criticism from the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).
Over 3 million Kenyans will suffer grave consequences as a result of the new law that proposes dividing the National Hospital Fund (NHIF) into three parts, according to a statement made by KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah.
He bemoaned the fact that Parliament had rammed through a bill that will negatively impact the larger health business, despite the union’s advice.
“It is important to keep in mind that this comprehensive medical coverage is not a government favor. Instead, all civil servants decided in December 2011 to give up their Ksh 3,500 monthly medical allowance in favor of a comprehensive medical plan that would be run by the NHIF,” Atellah said.
The union claimed that the recently passed Health Insurance Act will force government employees to spend more money since required deductions will increase to Ksh5,000 from Ksh1,700 in addition to the Ksh3,500 medical coverage.
“Without guaranteed access to care or comprehensive medical coverage, each of our members and other civil servants will contribute a total of Ksh 8,500 per month or Ksh 102,000 annually,” stated Atellah.
The Union also bemoaned the unfairness of the deductions made for individuals employed in the unorganized sector, as they comprise 80% of the country’s labor force.
“our is our query: Is it wrong to be unemployed in our nation? “And who will stand to benefit commercially when the government promises to give them ‘premium financial products’ (interpreted as loans) to help them pay?” he emphasized.
In protesting the Primary Health Care Bill, the union asked that funding be distributed to level 1, 2, and 3 facilities in the counties by the Commission of Revenue Allocation rather than the Social Health Authority in order to preserve devolution.