MY NHIF CONTRIBUTION: NOT WHAT I EXPECTED

Many things have shocked me in the last week and I was hoping for a slow week.  Not so. This morning the fact that I have two medical covers but I was still unable to access basic tubal ligation services. I am at baby number 4-do not ask why-my womb my choice. Any how I still feel the pressure to explain- a set of twins landed me there. What perturbed me is the fact that my private health provider thinks family planning is a choice and my national insurer discriminates against me based on my employment-that I am not a civil servant. This service is only provided free if you are a civil servant. How many civil servants can that Government afford to hire anyway? Secondly, why does the Government of Kenya think that the contribution of the informal sector is not significant-thus continue to pamper its civil servants and state officers at the expense of Kenyans in the informal sector?

Does Government use its own statistics for planning? Kenya National Bureau of statistics (KNBS) states that 83.6% of the Kenyan population is in the informal sector. Does this mean that the 83.6% contribute tax but at the point of redistributing it in the form of health services, we shove the civil servant card right in their faces?

Moreover, the most marginalized population are mostly in the informal sector and in the fringes of the economy. Is this action not taking them further into poverty? Today I used Kshs. 2,000 for consultation and a further Kshs. 9,000 for a tubal ligation. This is in a mid-level facility, this can go upward based on the facility. What does this mean for a country that is trying to control its population so that it protects its demographic dividend? Family planning must never feature in the exemption clauses of private insurance companies! This is a conversation that private insurers need to address.

We must not allow Government to descend into the arena of public funds and turn it into their playing ground. The dailies out that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is negotiating for a comprehensive package for the teachers of Kenya. Who is negotiating for a comprehensive package for me in the informal sector? Shouldn’t the comprehensive package be the default? We have allowed mediocrity to the level that the poor services are the default and good services the exception. It is time to turn tables.

However, for this to happen, we must make time for it. We must go to NHIF and demand that the nonsense stops. Payment of NHIF fees is not an option but service delivery is negotiable! We must mobilize and take a break from our daily work whether in formal or informal sector. Can you imagine using close to Kshs. 12,000 for a basic procedure in a day? This is close to the minimum wage of Kshs. 13,572 in Kenya. This means that I would have to work for an entire month to pay for this important service.

You would say that family planning is no emergency and a girl gotta close her legs. I do not dispute this. However, I shudder for what this means to a Kenyan child that needs an ICU but must put down a deposit first.  Things are thick but our leaders are busy demanding Kshs, 250,000 for house allowance and Kshs 96,000 per week for daily subsistence.  Let us stop this Government from dancing on our backs as we toil to provide tax, which goes to satisfy their every whim.

We must reclaim the sacred place of TAX-it can only be used for our collective good.