800,000 students not under medical scheme

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) chair Kahi Indimuli and Teachers Service Commission Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia. [Standard]

Secondary school heads have claimed that over 800,000 students are yet to benefit from the Sh4 billion medical insurance cover launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) chair Kahi Indimuli said the insurance scheme known as Edu Afya overseen by National Health Insurance Fund(NHIF) has been faced with logistic challenges which has locked out many students.

Most of the affected are from rural areas.

Indimuli attributed the challenges to failure of the National education Integration System (Nemis) to capture the details of thousands of students. As a result, NHIF cannot identify them.

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Indimuli said that out of the three million students in public secondary schools, 800,000 have not been registered by Nemis. He said medical facilities accredited by NHIF to attend to the students also depend on Nemis data to identify them for care.

“This has become stressful as it is only through the scheme that a student will get a premium of the Sh1,350 per head for health insurance,” said Indimuli.

During the recent Kessha annual conference, Indimuli said many public schools were in dire financial constraints caused by failure in Nemis to capture the full student data that is used to offer funding per student.

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As a result, most of the health service providers are losing confidence in the insurance scheme since they cannot be reimbursed after offering services.

“When it comes to reimbursement by NHIF after health companies have treated students whose code is not reflected under Nemis, medical claims worth hundreds of millions of shillings are not being honoured,” said Indimuli.

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A report prepared by NHIF in partnership with the Ministry of Education has already revealed that the scheme is underutilised, only 640,745 students have been treated so far.

Further, Indimuli said schools have been unable to partner with health service providers who want to set up clinics inside school compounds.

“We wish every school had a clinic covered under the NHIF scheme to avoid wastage of time and guarantee safety of our students," he said.

He went on, "But due to the challenges, few schools have managed to reach such standards despite the Ministry of Education directing every school to have its own clinic."

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Teachers Service CommissionKahi IndimuliNancy Macharia