NHIF to Senate Health Committee: Covering COVID-19 Costs Untenable due to Huge Financial Outlook.1
NAIROBI, 13 October – The Senate Committee on Health has today heard that the NHIF has not
been able to undertake the costs related to COVID-19 management for the current scheme
members due to the enormous financial outlay that would be required.
In a meeting presided by Committee Vice-chair, Sen Mary Seneta and the NHIF led by CEO Dr
Peter Kamunyo, the latter also noted that inasmuch as pandemics aren’t covered in the NHIF
model of operation, the Fund conducts modelling to evaluate possible value addition that they
may offer members.
“The Fund does regular modelling based on the daily updates provided by the Ministry of
Health. The last projection was based on data as at the end of August 2021,” Dr Kamunyo said.
“It used the 7-day running averages for reported admitted cases in August 2021, to estimate the
proportional daily increases in cumulative admissions, for six months, from 1 September 2021.”
According to the model and projected utilization, the cumulative hospital admissions attributed
to severe disease will rise to 17,458, of which 1,293 will need critical care, at a minimum cost of
1,086,309,745. This translates to 25.8% of the 4,215,696,544, likely to be spent on managing the
admitted cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Dr Kamunyo noted that the NHIF’s inability to undertake the costs was further exacerbated
because the risk exposure of COVID-19 cannot be accurately determined.
It is expected that the amended NHIF Act and other related laws such as the Health Act and
their supporting regulations and policies will create provisions on how pandemics and epidemics
such as COVID-19 can be covered in future.
Other Senators present at the meeting included: Sen (Dr) Abdullahi Ali, Sen (Prof) Samson
Ongeri, Sen Beth Mugo, Sen Millicent Omanga, Sen Fred Outa and friends of the Committee Sen
Samson Cherargei and Sen (Dr) Christopher Lang’at.