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Kiambu Afya-NHIF sign deal to improve access to healthcare

 Governor Kimani Wamatangi (centre), NHIF Chairman Michael Kamau, among other leaders, during the launch of Kiambu Afya healthcare scheme at Kirigiti Stadium on October 12, 2023. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Standard]

Struggling to provide for his family of six while working as a casual labourer in the smallholder tea farms in Githunguri, Kiambu county, Joseph Njoroge faced the daily challenge of putting food on the table and providing healthcare for his loved ones.

The escalating healthcare costs left him constantly in a dilemma, often compelling him to seek assistance from friends when his children fell ill.

However, a glimmer of hope appeared on the horizon when he learned about the Kiambu Afya healthcare scheme introduced by Governor Kimani Wamatangi.

Njoroge was among the early adopters who signed up for the Universal Healthcare Programme.

Now, he is among the fortunate beneficiaries of this comprehensive healthcare plan, which was officially launched yesterday.

The programme is a collaboration between the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Kiambu County government, offering an affordable healthcare package to its recipients.

In the first phase of the project, the county government has already paid premiums for over 70,600 households, ultimately benefiting more than 300,000 individuals.

With Kiambu Afya, residents already enrolled in the NHIF programme will gain access to inpatient services at accredited government hospitals across the country. Outpatient care is also included in the package.

Additionally, the programme offers enhanced coverage for chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

Furthermore, the scheme extends its care to the end of life, offering a Last Expense Cover that allocates Sh100,000 to the family of a registered beneficiary in case of their passing, thereby easing the burden of funeral expenses.

During the launch of the programme at Kirigiti Stadium in Kiambu Town, hundreds of residents gathered to herald the advent of this life-changing scheme, which promises to relieve families of the heavy weight of healthcare costs.

NHIF chairman, Engineer Michael Kamau, who attended the event, praised the initiative as a significant stride toward making healthcare more affordable and accessible.

Kamau urged other counties to follow in Kiambu's footsteps, acknowledging the potential for nationwide improvement in healthcare accessibility and affordability.

"This is a momentous day for Kiambu, and if other counties were to follow suit, our nation could make incredible progress in safeguarding the health of its population," he said.

In his address, Governor Wamatangi announced the immediate commencement of a second phase of registration aimed at enrolling over 100,000 households, targeting more than 500,000 people by the end of the year.

He said providing quality, affordable healthcare is a priority for his administration, underscoring his commitment to revitalise the county's health sector.

"During my tenure as the Senator of Kiambu, I witnessed the hardships endured by our people due to a struggling healthcare system. The burden of healthcare costs had forced some of our citizens into poverty, and this was the driving force behind my decision to take action," said the governor.

Wamatangi outlined the steps his government has taken to enhance healthcare, including investments in healthcare infrastructure and refurbishing ambulances.

"Apart from refurbishing the existing ones, we are acquiring six new ambulances. Our aim is to ensure each sub-county has two ambulances," said the county boss.

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