Kenyan Government to fully insure school-going children under new health scheme

24 July, 2024 / Articles

The government of Kenya has assured parents that their school-going children will be fully insured under the new Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), which is set to replace the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). This announcement highlights the government's commitment to ensuring that no child or adult is denied healthcare services due to a lack of funds, a pressing concern given the recent emphasis on comprehensive health coverage for all citizens.

Muthoni Muriuki, the Principal Secretary for Public Health and Professional Standards, revealed that the new Primary Healthcare Fund under SHIF will extend coverage to learners and their households. This initiative follows the success of the EduAfya insurance program, which has provided insurance for learners in public secondary schools since 2018. EduAfya was introduced following a directive from former President Uhuru Kenyatta and facilitated by the Ministry of Education to cater to the health needs of students across the country.

Speaking at St. Bakhita Kiburia Girls in Kianyaga, Kirinyaga County, during a prize-giving day ceremony, Muriuki emphasized the importance of parents registering their households promptly once the new program launches. She noted that this registration is crucial to ensure that both children and adults receive the necessary healthcare services without financial barriers.

Muriuki also highlighted the indispensable role of parents in their children's education. Beyond paying school fees, parents act as close confidants and primary supporters of their children's academic journeys. She urged parents to guide and communicate with their children in a language they understand best, fostering an environment that promotes learning and growth.

“To the parents and guardians, your role in this success cannot be overstated. Your encouragement, support, and involvement in your children’s education have been vital. You have created an environment that fosters learning and growth, ensuring that your children have every opportunity to succeed,” Muriuki stated.

She affirmed the government's dedication to providing quality education and called on all stakeholders, including the church and banking sector, to offer their support. Muriuki stressed the importance of community involvement in creating a thriving educational ecosystem, noting that partnerships and resources contribute significantly to the success of students.

“To members of the community, your support for these students is invaluable. Whether through partnerships, resources, or simply showing up to events like this, your involvement helps create a thriving educational ecosystem. Together we are building a brighter future for our young generation and consequently our country, Kenya,” Muriuki noted.

Muriuki emphasized the need for continued investment in schools, support for teachers, and the creation of an environment where every student can thrive. This includes embracing innovation, fostering inclusivity, and ensuring that no student is left behind. She reiterated the government's commitment to providing the best possible educational experiences for all students.

During the event, Murang’a Diocese Catholic Bishop James Wainaina, who was among the guests and a sponsor of the school, congratulated the institution on its continuous good performance and urged them to strive for even greater achievements. Bishop Wainaina emphasized the church's role as a key stakeholder in education and its commitment to supporting schools to improve performance.

The bishop also called on alumni to come together and modernize the school's facilities to meet current standards, thereby providing a conducive studying environment for students. “We realize this school was started long ago, and we should look for ways to improve the school’s equipment and structures. We request partners to assist us in face-lifting, which will, in turn, improve the performance of the girls,” he said.

The government's initiative to fully insure school-going children under the new SHIF reflects a broader commitment to improving both healthcare and education in Kenya. By ensuring that students have access to healthcare and quality education, the government aims to build a brighter future for the young generation and, consequently, the country. Community support, parental involvement, and partnerships are essential to realizing this vision and creating an environment where every student can succeed.

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