Kenyan communities invited to share ideas on health insurance program
Health Insurance Fund hosts workshop for potential target groups in Kenya.
Getting to know the different target groups, in other words the consumers, is essential in delivering quality care that suits the demand. The Health Insurance Fund and its implementing partner PharmAccess held a successful one-day workshop for the leaders of different low-income farmer organizations, all potential target groups for a new insurance program in Kenya. The aim of the day was to get better knowledge of the communities, in this case coffee, dairy and chilli farmer and to explain the benefits and obligations of the program.
The workshop helped first to increase the understanding of the health care situation of the communities. The community leaders described the most common illnesses in their district, the state of the health facilities and explained what their perception of quality health care was. Second, the benefits of health insurance, of pre-paying a fixed amount to cover for future healthcare costs, and of risk pooling were explained. Risk pooling means that healthcare costs are shared across the community, high health expenses for one member are compensated by low expenses of another. And last, it was made clear that the leaders will have to play an active role in mobilising their communities for the scheme; to make it a real community owned program.
‘Understanding each others expectations of the program is crucial in making the scheme work’, says Carlijn Speelman, project manager of PharmAccess. ‘From the start on we want active community involvement in the scheme, which can only be realized if we have a shared comprehension of the program. This workshop really helped to share information and ideas.’ Based on these ideas and the results of the workshop a further selection of the target groups will be made. The day is used as an introduction to see whether the program can be beneficial to both sides.
Kenya is likely to be the third country where the Health Insurance Fund will start an insurance program for rural and urban low-income worker groups. The insurance scheme is under development, but a scoping study has been carried out and there have been extensive talks with several insurance companies, healthcare providers and rural and urban target groups. The aim of organising these workshops in such an early phase is to ensure community involvement right from the beginning.
Exchange of information
The Kenyan facilitator MSc Paular Mugo Maina, CEO of the Centre for Development Services (CDS) helped to guide the exchange of information during the plenary sessions of the workshop. The leaders used these sessions to put forward some critical questions. They were curious about what they will need to pay for, whether everyone will pay the same, what the role of the insurance company will be, how the clinics will be upgraded and to what level of health care and who will be included in the scheme.
On the other hand they explained how much different communities spend out of pocket on health care now, whether they use private or public hospitals, how far they have to walk to the clinic and how much they are willing to spend on health care; vital information to develop a program that fits their needs. ‘For example, the coffee farmers, only get their salaries once a year, we should therefore not introduce a scheme with a monthly fee for them’, says Speelman. The information will be incorperated in the development of the program.