President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday launched Sh4.05 billion National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) medical scheme for all students in public secondary schools.
The government will pay a premium of Sh1,350 per student for the three million students as part of efforts to fulfil one pillar of the Big Four Agenda- provision of affordable health care to all.
Speaking during the launch at State House, Nairobi, President Kenyatta said the negotiated comprehensive cover is unique since it only caters for students, rather than the usual one that caters for families.
“This will ensure that our students access quality health services and thereby easing the burden from their parents and guardians,” President Kenyatta said, adding that the initiative is expected to have a phenomenal impact in the transformation of the nation.
President Kenyatta directed NHIF and the Ministry of Education to be keen on ensuring money is not 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 that included solo verses, cultural and modern dances, oral narratives and feature plays at the State House Concert.
The event was also graced by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko among other key stakeholders.
Great moral lessons, creativity, messages of wisdom and entertainment underlined the eight-day long festivals that were held at Lenana, State House Girls, Dagoretti High and Moi Girls Schools in Nairobi culminating in the State House winners’ concert.
To bolster implementation of the new scheme, President Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Health to ensure health facilities that serve students are upgraded to the level of NHIF accreditation.
“Since students are expected to be in school most of the time, the provider must ensure that they access medical services close to school,” the Head of State said.
The President also directed NHIF to move with speed and register all learners to enable them 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) – which has registered great success even before its formal launch – is addressing the issue.
The comprehensive cover for the students has been negotiated between the Education ministry and NHIF, taking into account the uniqueness of the population to be insured.
President Kenyatta expressed optimism that the launch of the health insurance cover for students will encourage parents and guardians who are not members of NHIF to also enrol.
President Kenyatta said Kenya aims at achieving Universal Health Care (UHC) by 2022.
The Head of State affirmed that the government’s policy on education is aimed at enhancing access, equity and quality at all levels.
“This is guided by the Constitution that provides for basic education as one of the fundamental rights of every Kenyan child. The government, therefore, endeavours to observe, respect, promote and fulfil these rights,” President Kenyatta said.
The President – who was treated to captivating and thrilling performances by the winners in this year’s Kenya Schools and colleges Drama festival – commended young people for preaching cohesion and national integration.
President Kenyatta applauded the youth for strongly demonstrating that Kenyans stood to gain more when united and patriotic than when they were divided.
He said every citizen has a role to play for the country to realize the peace, tranquillity and prosperity, which they aspire to have as a nation.
“We have been shown by our learners that no matter how bad a situation may seem, there is hope,” said President Kenyatta.
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’’.
The President emphasized on the need for Kenyans to work together in unity so as to enable the country to achieve its desired goal of a prosperous and industrial nation.