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County rolls out health cover for informal sector

The County Government of Kisumu has rolled out a subsidy programme to support individuals in the informal sector, to obtain health insurance cover.


Dubbed MARWA subsidy programme, the initiative will see the County government contribute a portion of the Sh500 National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) premium, with the balance being contributed by the beneficiaries.


Kisumu Governor, Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, said the move targets to increase the number of people under health insurance coverage in the area, for positive mounded and a health society.


This, he said, was in response to the challenges people working in the informal sector face, which has seen them default on the monthly Sh500 NHIF premium payments.


“We have developed this initiative in direct response to the challenges these people have faced. Today, we launch the Marwa Insurance Subsidy Program, allowing individuals in the informal sector who are unable to afford the Sh500 premium, to contribute a portion, while the County government of Kisumu, covers the remainder,” he said.


He said the informal sector has responded positively to the initiative, adding that during the piloting of the initiative, 194 traders at Kibuye market, enrolled and are reaping the benefits.


“The registered vendors also showed their commitment, by paying half of the required premiums. This targeted approach acknowledges the unique healthcare needs of these groups, ensuring they receive specialized care and support,” he said.


All the beneficiaries, he added, will be seamlessly transition to the Social Health Insurance Fund, once it is activated.


The development comes a year after the County government rolled out the MARWA program targeting individuals in the area.


So far, the initiative has supported a total of 47,973 vulnerable households, by paying part of NHIF cover for them.


This support has translated into 39,720 clinic visits.


To make the subsidy program a success, Kisumu County Executive Committee Member (CECM)-In-Charge of Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation, Dr. Gregory Ganda, said all players in the informal sector have been sensitized.

The Department, he added, was negotiating with the potential beneficiaries and the Department of Finance and Economic Planning, to include a small fee on the daily levies paid to the County government, which will in turn be used to pay part of the cover.


“What we are saying is, if a vendor is paying Sh30 per day, they can pay Sh50 and the difference automatically goes to the health cover kitty,” he explained.


By Chris Mahandara

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