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Verification of NHIF assets, liabilities kicks off ahead of SHA rollout

 National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Building, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Finally, the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) is being faced out as the transition committee kicks off the verification of assets and liabilities.

The verification is being led by James Oundo, Senior Deputy Accountant General at the National Treasury.

Speaking on Monday during the official launch of the verification at the Ministry of Health, Oundo said the exercise will guarantee smooth assets management as NHIF is replaced by the Social Health Authority (SHA).

“We began with the verification tools, to aid in addressing the perennial problem with assets management in the national government," he said.

“Since we were requested by the Transition Committee to come and do some work for them; to verify the assets and also review the financial statements for the NHIF, and give them a brief of what it looks like,” he said, noting that’s the team has been carrying out the exercise for the past one month.

The team from the National Treasury is affiliated with the National Assets and Liabilities Management team, which comprises accountants from the Accounting Services, National Assets and Liabilities Management and from the Department of Government Investments and Public Enterprises and Economists.

The verification will commence in Nairobi before heading to regional and county offices.

“We are now prepared to go to the field, starting with Nairobi then head to the rest of the country,” Oundo said.

The verification of NHIF assets and liabilities is expected to be complete before July.

“For the past month, we have been working on verification tools,” said Oundo.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha said the exercise will ensure a smooth transition of NHIF to the Social Health Authority (SHA).

“Transition exercise should be seamless where the public does not notice any change. They should not realise there has been a handshake unless at a point of service delivery,” said the CS.

Nakhumicha announced that exercise is being conducted ahead of the official registration of the new health scheme.

The new health scheme will repeal NHIF and begin offering services to Kenyans by July 1.

“Registration of SHA should be done prior to July 1. July 1, 2024, is when Kenyans will begin to access services under SHA,” said Nakhumicha.

Verification of NHIF assets and liabilities is being conducted by a transition committee that has at least 50 officers.

The committee will ascertain the liabilities and assets of NHIF headquarters, regional, branches and satellite, including at the Huduma Centres across the country.

After verification, the CS said the liabilities and assets shall be handed to SHA.

“I want to clarify to Kenyans that the team has done an excellent job in preparing for the transition which will be smooth, accountable and transparent,” she said.

“The team doing verification will work within the timelines that we have. We gazetted the committee in November. From July 1, SHA must provide services to Kenyans. We have strict timelines for Kenyans,” she added.

Nakhumicha said registration for the new health scheme will commence this month.

“This month, we shall begin household registration,” added the CS.

Medical Health Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said in the past, the government has lost assets and liabilities due to a lack of data.

“The government’s intention to having verification is to bring transparency and accountability in the entire process. We have experienced a loss of government assets. As the Ministry of Health, we want to get it clear because it will remain. We do not expect audit issues to arise,” said Kimtai.

Acting Director General in the Ministry of Health Patrick Amoth said: “Assets transition is key because SHA will not have anything new but what it will inherit from NHIF.”

NHIF Chairperson Micheal Kamau echoed Nakhumicha’s sentiments saying the transition committee will be seamless.

“We are looking at what we are giving to SHA. It is about what is owned by NHIF, how much money, and what liabilities are going to SHA. I have followed the process and I want to commend the good job, and the CS is doing it in a scientific manner,” he said. 

After the verification, Eng Kamau asked the CS to organise a meeting between NHIF and SHA, to enable officials to give any input, if need be.

SHA chairperson Timothy Olweny said the verification is important for efficiency and accountability.

“We need verification to do things in the right manner. We need a good inheritance in a manner that is required. We are looking forward from taking it from there,” said Dr Olweny.

The transition committee to oversee the repeal of NHIF to SHA is chaired by Jason Kap-Kirwok.

During the launch of the exercise, Kap-Kirowk said he has trust in the team leading verification.

“This is an important event, it is multi-agency in government. The National Treasury is the lead team and has a large number of competent officers and other ministries joining us. At least 50 officers that are ready to go conduct the exercise professionally and meet all expectations,” he said.

Members of the transition committee include Dr Daniel Mwai (presidential health advisor and health economist), Dr Kipruto Chermusoi Chesang, Dr Jacinta Wasike, Gladys Wambui Mburu, Stephen Kaboro Mbugua and Dr Elizabeth Wangia.

Other members are Christopher Leparan Tialal, Dr Jacob Otachi Orina and Dr Stanley Bii.

According to the gazette notice published in November, the committee's term is six months.

Nevertheless, the CS said amid the transition, Kenyans shall continue to access healthcare services with the NHIF card.

“Kenyans should not be worried, services shall continue even during the exercise. Service providers and facilities should provide services,” she said.

Nakhumicha appealed to service providers to continue offering services to Kenyans, including Linda Mama that had been reported to have stopped in a number of hospitals.

The National Treasury released Sh4 billion to the ministry to pay service providers.

“Early this month, we received money to pay for services, including Linda Mama. We shall continue to pay and settle all claims so long as they've been confirmed and verified," she said.

"...do not deny Kenyans services, especially now that we have come from a crisis following doctors strike. Let us go all out to ensure we provide the much-needed critical services to Kenyans,” she added.

Further, Nakhumicha said the ministry is committed to delivering Universal Health Coverage (UHC), that is a key agenda in the Kenya Kwanza administration.

According to the CS, SHA is the train to UHC as it has three funds namely Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), Primary Healthcare Fund and the Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund.

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