Kenya’s hospital insurance fund managers pilfe fundrs as patients suffer

Posted on | mei 30, 2012 | No Comments

Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund, a government body charged with providing health insurance to millions of poor Kenyans has been accused of spending close to half of its revenue on administrative costs leaving most public hospitals in dire need of funds to efficiently run.

“This is an anomaly,” said Njenga Ragu of Morris Moses Foundation, a Nairobi-based NGO which advocates for compassionate, quality and affordable healthcare to patients.

According to Ragu, hospitals like the Pumwani Maternity Hospital which provides maternity services to poor women in low income neighbourhood of Nairobi, are running on ‘no budget’. The only money they are getting, he said, is to pay staff.

Ragu says in the last few weeks which have coincided with latest news on funds pilfering at the NHIF that led to the sacking of the CEO and the NHIF board, patients’ conditions in public hospitals are “terrible and disconcerting”.

“Many CEOs manning government hospitals are like drivers driving vehicles with no fuel,” he said.

Jason Lakin, Senior Technical Liaison, Hivos Foundation said from investigations, it has been found that the NHIF makes no financial information available to common citizens, and very little policy information of any kind.

“This explains why no one can tell what the 45% of revenue spent on administrative costs does,” said Jason.

He adds that financial information from NHIF does not provide the necessary information that could be used to track the way money is being spent.

“ Instead, what Kenyans see are forays in real estate business by the NHIF and not health insurance the organization was set up to do,” said Kwame Owino of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

But Jason says the problem is not confined to NHIF alone. In general, the Government of Kenya does not release sufficient financial information about state corporations which combined managed Ksh610 billion (USD7 billion) in the 2011/12 financial year.

“This undermines the capacity of the public to hold these institutions to account and further weakens public confidence in their ability to serve the public interest,” he said.

Since 2006, the fund has increased its membership of formal and informal sectors alike and the share of national health resources that are under its direct management.

It has increasingly been centered as the key institution to be the vehicle through which the government hopes to eventually offer health insurance to all Kenyans.

AUTHOR: Henry Neondo
URL: http://
E-MAIL: neondohenry [at]


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