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Govt to foot bills for the terminally ill

The government will now start paying the bills of patients with terminal illnesses to ease the burden of medication for affected individuals.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha announced that hospital bills for terminally ill patients will be catered for through the Emergency, Chronic, and Critical Illness Fund that has been created.

She said the targeted patients will register with the fund, and once they go to any hospital, an invoice will be sent to the government to settle the charges without them spending a penny.

The CS said cases of diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, among other non-communicable diseases, are on the rise and costly to treat for the vulnerable.

She said that many households today struggle to seek medication for their loved ones who have terminal illnesses and end up losing their wealth without any hope.

Nakhumicha was speaking at the St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in Mumias Kakamega County during a working tour assessing hospitals’ readiness for the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

She said the Emergency, Chronic, and Critical Illness Fund, just like the Social Health Insurance Fund and the Primary Healthcare Fund, is contained in the Social Health Insurance Act, which is facing court battles.

She asked entities delaying implementation of the Act to be sincere and allow Kenyans who cannot afford medication for lack of money to be covered.

“You know it doesn’t make sense that you have comprehensive medical insurance paid for by the taxpayers of this country, and when we start a plan for the vulnerable to get medical insurance, you go to oppose the implementation in court; it’s not fair,” Nakhumicha noted.

She said she is optimistic that the Judges will dismiss the petition against the Act in order for the Ministry to launch its implementation, which includes a reduction of the NHIF from Sh500 to Sh300 per month for the vulnerable groups and the registration of patients for the Emergency, Chronic, and Critical Illness Fund.

The CS warned hospitals engaging in fictitious NHIF claims that she will soon name those involved in the fund fraud.

By Moses Wekesa

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