Health workers cry foul after NHIF declines to cater for comprehensive treatment

By: ANITA CHEPKOECH

Doctors and nurses have now been forced to seek for general treatment in the public hospitals after their medical scheme and allowances were withdrawn.

The health workers claimed that the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), which is their only scheme left, has declined to cater for their comprehensive treatment.

The health workers used to enjoy Sh4,000 medical allowance and a comprehensive medical scheme under the national government both of which have since been withdrawn by the county governments.

Dr Ouma Oluga, the secretary general for Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union and Seth Panyako of the Kenya National Union of Nurses said the health workers are being turned away from hospitals whenever the fall sick and are forced to queue for general treatment.

They accused NHIF of denying them dignified services despite having increased their monthly deductions from Sh300 to Sh1,700.

“Two senior doctors, one of them a surgeon, were turned away at Kenyatta National Hospital and Elgeyo-Marakwet Hospital recently.

“It is very discriminatory that specialist caregivers are treated as third class citizens,” Dr Oluga said by phone.

Mr Panyako said NHIF was obtaining money from nurses by “false pretence.”

“It is running like a criminal cartel. They only give us a paltry Sh100 capitation and ask us to obtain health care services in specific hospitals whereas they deduct from us Sh1,700 monthly,” he said.

Mr Panyako said the capitation was unlawful as the law only allows payment after services have been offered.

He added: “This capitation is another fraud whereby NHIF is colluding with private briefcase hospitals to fleece the workers just like the past management. We are therefore going to put up a robust legal team to ensure that the stealing stops.”

He said several nurses have been unable to take their children to be treated in private wings while those who were allowed had to pay the amount required for treatment from their pockets after the insurer refused to pay.

Dr Oluga said they had held a meeting with the NHIF board to present their grievances but no changes had been made.

“The issue of giving capitation to specific hospitals for people to seek treatment is not safe. They should not limit us because one can fall sick anywhere,” he said.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION