President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched a Sh4 billion National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) medical cover for over three million students in public secondary schools. In the programme to commence when schools re-open next month, the government will pay a premium of Sh1,350 per student in all public secondary schools.
President also directed that health facilities that serve students be upgraded to the level of NHIF accreditation. The health insurance rollout is part of efforts to fulfil one pillar of the Big Four agenda – provision of affordable healthcare to all.
Speaking during the launch at State House, Nairobi, Friday, Uhuru said the negotiated comprehensive cover is unique as it only caters for individual students, rather than the usual one that caters for families.
“This will ensure that our students access quality health services, thereby easing the burden from their parents and guardians,” the President said, adding that the initiative is expected to have a phenomenal impact in the transformation of the nation.
The Head of State directed NHIF and the Ministry of Education to be keen on ensuring no money is lost through corruption as the scheme is implemented.
The launch came after the final gala of this year’s Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival where winners presented their award-winning pieces before the President at the State House concert, that included solo verses, cultural and modern dances, oral narratives and feature plays.
The event was also graced by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko among other key stakeholders. Great moral lessons, creativity, messages of wisdom and entertainment underlined the eight-day long festival held at Lenana School, State House Girls, Dagoretti High and Moi Girls School in Nairobi culminating in the State House winners’ concert.
To bolster implementation of the new scheme, President Uhuru directed the Ministry of Health to ensure health facilities that serve students are upgraded to the level of NHIF compliance.
“Since students are expected to be in school most of the time, the provider must ensure they access medical services close to schools,” the Head of State said. He also directed NHIF to register all learners to enable them to access services when schools open for the second term.
He emphasised the importance of accurate data to ensure the health cover for students is realised, saying the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) is addressing the issue.
The comprehensive cover for students has been negotiated between the Ministry of Education and NHIF, taking into account the uniqueness of the population to be insured.
He applauded the youth for demonstrating that Kenyans stand to gain more when united than when they are divided, noting every citizen has a role to play for the country to realise peace and prosperity.
“We have been shown by our learners that no matter how bad a situation may seem, there is hope,” said the President.
This year’s top performers included Thika School for the Visually Impaired, Kenyatta University, St. Anne’s, Liganwa Primary School, Matuga Girls and Eregi Teachers Training College. The theme of this year’s festival was “Enhancing National Integration and Cohesion’’.