(Global Health Check) - The question of how to raise domestic revenue for health is something that policymakers across Africa continue to grapple with. In recent decades different options have been tried and tested –user fees, small-scale community based health insurance, private insurance schemes, and taxation. Today Kenya, like many countries in the region, is left with a complicated patchwork of different schemes offering different levels of coverage to different population groups. Merging these into a single national risk pool which uses public financing to provide for all citizens will improve access to healthcare and reduce administrative costs.
One way of raising more money for health would be to introduce an earmarked tax on diaspora remittances. “According to the Central Bank of Kenya, money remitted by the diaspora is growing monthly,” says Dr Jane Chuma, a health economist and senior research scientist at Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kilifi.
(Standard Digital) - There is net gain to the economy when a society adopts universal health coverage (UHC). This gain is not simply in terms of improvement of the health of the people and the lowering of mortality rates, but also in terms of the impact on the economy as a whole.
A study carried out by the consulting firm, KPMG, on the impact UHC is going to have on the South African economy since it was adopted in August 1211, shows that the economic benefits of investing in healthcare far outweigh the potential costs associated with the roll-out of UHC and the funding thereof through increased taxes. This is real both at the individual household level as well as at the macro-economy level as a whole.
Where is the evidence? First, a Government must prioritise improvement in healthcare as a leading objective in its programme to change society for the better. Once this is done, then the tools for doing so must be equally identified and prioritised.
(Voice of America) - Rwanda will host a regional conference next week (9-11/13), with a focus on health insurance. Rwanda has been praised for moving toward universal coverage for its population. But many say it’s a complicated issue that does not have a one-size-fits-all solution.
The Conference on Social Health Protection in the East African Community will consider various approaches to providing universal health coverage in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.
Universal coverage is the subject of a new study that reviewed health systems in 12 African and Asian countries.
The World Health Organization’s Joe Kutzin says universal coverage is more of a “direction than a destination.”
“What it means you want to move towards universal coverage, which means you want to improve access. You want to improve financial protection and you want to improve quality. And in that sense, those are goals for every country in the world.
PS News: The Kenyan Government has declared it will do everything possible to ensure a controversial Public Service’ medical scheme continues.
Prime Minister, Raila Odinga said the current crisis at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) over allocation of the funds to accredited hospitals could be resolved.
Mr Odinga said the scheme was worth Sh4.3 billion (A$513 million) and was a useful and desirable system that would “make healthcare accessible and affordable”.
“The investigations which have been instituted are going to be done without any kind of victimisation, without any kind of blackmail,” Mr Odinga said.
“We just want to get the truth to ensure that this system is not nipped in the bud.”
He said the government would also ensure contributions to the National Health Insurance Fund were spent transparently while pushing for public-private partnerships in provision of healthcare in the country.
He said the public sector could not be relied upon to be the o
CapitalFM: Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said the government will do everything possible to ensure that the controversial Sh4.3 billion civil servants’ medical scheme survives.
Odinga said on Monday that the current crisis at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) over allocation of the funds to accredited hospitals could be resolved.
He termed the scheme as a useful and desirable system that will make healthcare accessible and affordable.
“The investigations which have been instituted are going to be done without any kind of victimisation; without any kind of blackmail.
Business Daily: Formal sector employees will at the end of this month start paying the controversial higher National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) rates, opening a new chapter in the history of health insurance in Kenya.
NHIF is enforcing payment of the rates which will see monthly contributions from workers rise by up to 525 per cent, despite strong opposition from the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu).
NHIF’s move comes one month after the High Court rejected Cotu’s attempt to have the new rates suspended indefinitely and the Court of Appeal declined to grant the union a stay of execution that it had sought as it moved to challenge the High Court decision.
Yesterday, the union said in a paid-up advertisement that it was disturbed by the decision of some employers to start charging their employees the new rates despite a pending determination of a case it has filed in the appeal court.
The Star: The National Hospital Insurance Fund will start deducting more money from its members starting next month despite unresolved issues raised about the scheme.
In a newspaper advertisement, the fund informed member it will go ahead with the cover beginning June. "All employers, contributors and organised groups should remit the enhanced contribution rates from 1st May 2012," read the ad. The outpatient cover scheme has raised questions over the amount to be paid and possible loopholes that might see cases of fraud.
The new rates will see those earning below Sh6,000 contribute Sh150 monthly, those earning above Sh50,000 will pay Sh1,000 while those earning more than Sh100,000 will pay Sh2,000 from the flat rate of Sh320 per month.
There has also been a controversy over the mechanism used to select the hospitals, clinics and health centers to offer the services.
Business Eye: Font
The Nigerian Health Sector is no doubt one of the cardinal sectors whose successful reform will definitely shape the direction and pace of national economic growth and development. However, the sector has witnessed several years of neglect, decay of infrastructure, poor funding and inappropriate human resources management coupled with colossal depletion of trained personnel (brain drain).
At the inception of President Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 1999, Nigeria was reported as having one of the lowest annual budgets dedicated to the health sector in Africa (less than 5 percent of total budgetary allocation). Resource allocation for the sector between the Federal, State and Local Governments was inefficient and unbalanced. The quality of health services and facilities and drugs were either very low or there was prevalence of fake, substandard and unregistered health institutions.
Business Daily: Given the scepticism that greeted the launch of the medical insurance scheme for civil servants and disciplined forces at the beginning of the year, the National Hospital Insurance Fund’s assessment that the scheme made a surplus in its first three months of operation is quite encouraging.
The teething problems surrounding the selection and credentials of service providers so far provide the loudest gloat for critics who contend that the Fund has no capacity to handle such a huge scheme.
While such teething problems were to be expected, the NHIF needs to inject transparency in this critical area so that concerns can be swiftly addressed in order to inject confidence in the scheme.
The Fund has as of now done well to involve the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board in identifying hospitals that are well equipped to deliver quality services to members of the scheme.