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MP, NHIF launch ambitious healthcare cover for Thika residents.

A photo grid of some of the people who registered with the NHIF in a 2-day exercise that targeted bodaboda and matatu operators.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) have partnered to enroll area residents to the fund with a view to boost their access to universal health care.

In the two-day exercise in Kiganjo and Whiteline areas, aver 300 bodaboda, matatu drivers and conductors as well as other residents either registered for NHIF for the first time or activated their previously dormant accounts.

The Thika legislator sponsored one month’s contribution for each of the new applicants and negotiated for some subsidised re-activation fee for those who had previously defaulted payments and whose accounts had been dormant for more than a year.

While kick starting the drive, the MP encouraged residents to register with the NHIF as this will streamline their accessibility to a wide spectrum of health services in both public and private hospitals without worrying about the bills.

He noted that his office had received so many applications for medical assistance by residents, something he noted would easily be tackled with a medical cover.

“About 70% of the applications we receive for financial assistance is related to clearance of medical bills. If we can insure all our people, this problem would be solved and the money channeled to other development programmes,” said Wainaina.

Asked why he had to start with the bodaboda and matatu operators, the legislator noted that the two were instrumental in increasing enrolment due to their regular involvement with the residents at the grassroots level.

Wainaina advised residents to form groups where, other catering for the general welfare and empowerment of their members, they would also peg NHIF membership and contribution in their daily activities.

“People sell their property and household items for medical treatment of their loved ones, but this should not happen anymore. Contributing as a group will ease the burden because we can liaise with NHIF for them to be exempted from paying the 5% agent fee which will consequently reduce the amount each member pays for the cover,” he said.

He said that he plans to roll out the campaign throughout the constituency until the entire populace was enrolled.

“We will also embark on identification of elderly persons, orphans and people with disability- including the severely disabled to ensure they too benefit from the funds,” he said.

Thika NHIF Branch manager Michael Njau was very impressed with the turnout and expressed optimism that, as a branch, they will beat their registration target by the end of April to have registered all bodaboda operators.

He encouraged employers especially those employing casuals, to register them with NHIF and ensure that they submitted their monthly remittance to the fund.

“Our aim is to have everyone registered with NHIF. For as little as sh. 500 per month, we are covering our clients to a tune of sh. 130,000 which rather the fairest you can have in the market,” he explained.

The management of 2TS SACCO welcomed this initiative noting that it was long overdue.

Led by their Chairman Michael Kamande and Secretary David Nduati Mungai, their office had been overburdened with requests for medical assistance from both their members and their over 500 workforce.

“This is a great relief for us as matatu operators as we have been footing so many hospital bills through harambees. If all our crew get insured, this will be a thing of the past. We also thank our MP for paying part of the money so as to encourage all our drivers and conductors to register for the fund,” said the chairman.

The chairman Kamenu Bodaboda Association James Mburu admitted that his members were high risk persons and their inclusion to the fund was so crucial. He added that so many bodaboda members incurring hefty bills that the fund would have catered for if at all they had been registered.

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