In Kenya, the Nairobi Hospital has recovered one billion Kenyan shillings from the debt owed to it by insurers. This was made known by the hospital’s chief executive James Nyamongo who was speaking at a stakeholder’s meeting on Wednesday. The recovered money is part of a total of 3.2 billion shillings owed to the hospital by various insurance firms, corporations and individuals as well as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in addition to its own track record of corruption that included the illegal award of contracts and non-payment of insurance claims.
However, in the last year, Mr Nyamongo says the hospital has returned to profitability and ability to pay its bills and its debt is now down to 2.2 billion Kenyan shillings. Although Kenya’s public debt is high at 7.7 trillion dollars, its economic outlook is positive and is expected to grow by 5.9% in 2022. Nyanmongo was hired to stabilize the 60-year old hospital that had been bogged down by years of corrupt practices. His predecessor Dr Allan Pamba was ousted just six months into the job. He was subsequently accused of mismanagement that included multi-billion shilling contracts for the installation of security systems, debt collection services and the construction of the Covid-19 hospital unit.
The National Treasury spent an additional Sh13.42 billion or 6.58% more on domestic interest repayments than it had budgeted for in the half-year period to December 2021.
The issue of unremitted insurance funds appear to not only be a problem for Kenya: in Nigeria, hospitals have threatened to stop attending to clients represented by HMO insurance covers for lack of payment. Negotiations between health providers and HMOs began in February and a hike in the coverage fees is likely in the coming weeks. More than ten million Nigerian have healthcare through the HMO system.
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