The high court has halted the implementation and enforcement of the Social Health Insurance Fund Act 2023, the Primary Health Care Act 2023, and the Digital Health Act 2023.
This pause will remain in effect until a legal challenge is heard. The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) carried out their threat to contest the social health insurance scheme’s implementation.
The court, responding to the doctors’ union, issued orders preventing the government from proceeding with the planned launch of the universal health coverage outlined in the laws, initially set by President William Ruto for January 2024.
KMPDU contends that the government has neglected to involve stakeholders in addressing the contentious issues surrounding the implementation of the social health insurance act.
A major point of contention for the union is section 26(5) of the SHIF Act, which mandates that individuals seeking membership must demonstrate compliance with the act’s provisions during registration and contribution.
Failure to comply would act as a barrier to accessing public services from various government entities, a stance that KMPDU argues would disenfranchise Kenyan citizens.
This development unfolded shortly after the health CS engaged with the staff of the national health insurance fund to discuss the transition into the new scheme.
The Health CS assured employees that the transition, which may lead to job losses, would be handled with dignity. Nakhumicha explained the process, stating that a suitability test would be conducted following the structural setup.
Those not meeting the criteria would have the option of early retirement. For those leaving, discussions are underway to develop an exit package through collaboration between the ministry, NHIF, and the Public Service Commission.
The possibility of transitioning to another sector of the public service is also on the table, ensuring job security with the guarantee of the current salary. However, terms for those transitioning to SHA (Social Health Alliance) would differ.