Health CS nominee Mutahi Kagwe to prioritise coronavirus, increase NHIF deductions
Cabinet Secretary for Health nominee, Mutahi Kagwe has pledged to make tackling the coronavirus threat his first priority when he is sworn in.
Speaking during his vetting session in parliament on Thursday, Kagwe said his priority upon assuming office would be to ensure Kenya is adequately prepared to address the viral epidemic, adding that there is need for Kenya to be more proactive in its approach towards global epidemics.
On Wednesday, CS for Health Sicily Kariuki said her ministry had investigated 13 alerts and they all tested negative for the virus.
The health ministry assured Kenyans that it has put in place diagnostic capacity in at the national influenza Centre and the Kenya Medical Research Institute Laboratories to test suspected cases of COVID-19 as well as mandatory screening at all points of entry to minimize the risk of entry of the virus from affected countries.
During the vetting process, Kagwe also said that individuals with formal employment should brace themselves for higher National Health and Insurance Fund (NHIF) deductions when he takes over the ministry.
According to him, Kenyans must be compelled to contribute to the NHIF in support of President Kenyatta’s health care programme. The deductions will be made in proportion to the income level.
“We need to think outside the box. Those earning more should be prepared to pay more towards insurance.” Said Kagwe.
Informal employees currently contribute Ksh500 a month to NHIF while those in formal employment contribute about Ksh500 to Ksh1,700 a month to carter for healthcare services.