Millions of Kenyans are at risk of losing their hospital insurance covers with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) if the proposed Huduma Namba Bill is enacted.

A section of the Huduma Namba Bill, also knowns as the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), states that “Any government agency that requires personal particulars of a resident individual in order to provide shall at the first instance rely on the NIIMS database to authenticate the foundational data of such individual.”

This means that over 13 million NHIF principal members and their 26 million dependents will require to register for the Huduma Namba and be in the NIIMS database to be able to access NHIF services. Out of over 50 million Kenyans, only 10.5 million applied for Huduma Namba while only 7.3 million have collected their cards.

“Making NIIMS authenticator at the first instance of functional data will restrict access to quality and timely healthcare to beneficiaries and may ultimately hinder the realisation of UHC. Out of the 11.6 million Huduma Namba cards printed, only 5.6 million are NHIF members with their cards printed,” the NHIF told Parliament early this month.

The registration of the Huduma Namba was made mandatory for all Kenyans aged 6 and above and foreign nationals living in Kenya. The registration exercise saw Kenyans submitting their fingerprints and other biometric data to be registered. The Huduma Namba has the holder’s details including;

  • full name
  • sex
  • date of birth
  • Huduma Namba
  • nationality
  • place of birth
  • front facing photograph
  • date of issue

In order to save millions from losing their cover, NHIF wants Parliament to amend Clause 9 of the Huduma Namba Bill and delete the words “at the first instance”. In their report, the National Assembly on Administration and National Security Committee has agreed with NHIF, and the proposals now await debate in parliament.