Factors influencing the uptake of social health insurance in the informal sector: the case of the small scale traders at the City Park Market, Nairobi
The Government of Kenya through the National Hospital Insurance Fund has tried to provide an affordable contributory medical cover to all Kenyans, enabling them pay a premium for them to access health care at the point of need. The Fund is on a drive to recruit members from the informal sector, who form the bulk of workers in the country. The small number of members that is enrolled with the Fund from this group, however, points to a disconnect between the fund and the targeted population. Literature from various sources was reviewed and the research findings were based on the primary data collected from urban small scale traders. Nairobi's City Park Market traders were selected with the assumption that being in the urban setting made them relatively accessible to information and health care. Data was collected using a semi- structured questionnaire and the respondents were picked by use of stratified and systematic sampling. In this project, the researcher explores specific issues that could be an impediment to the inclusion of the informal sector workers within the existing Social Health Insurance (NHIF). From the findings, it emerged that though a number of the traders had enrolled in the scheme, there were issues that hampered the use of the Fund's services such as accessibility to NHIF offices and lack of adequate information. In conclusion, it was clear that the small scale traders' were highly aware of the NHIF programme despite some not taking up insurance. It also emerged that opening up more offices for easy access; providing adequate information, quick processing of NHIF cards and covering outpatient could boost enrolment from the informal sector. The study brought out further areas for research such as determining the factors influencing the uptake of SRI among those in the rural areas and the level of their awareness concerning the voluntary programme.