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Make sign up for NHIF card mandatory to all citizens

NHIF Building

It is imperative to make universal  health care mandatory in order to provide health care and financial protection to all citizens. Today, there are 1,400 facilities across the country providing NHIF outpatient services. Medical care is costly. However, the good news is that medical cover for expectant mothers has been raised up to 300 per cent and the monthly minimum contribution remains at Sh500. We need to laud the current reforms at NHIF, which is the biggest health insurer in Kenya.

The insurance fund has given a ray of hope to the poor but millions still struggle to pay for hospital bills because they have not signed up due to lack of awareness or ignorance. Many Kenyans still rely on fundraisers to settle hospital bills in an era when affordable health insurance has been expanded even to the informal sector. The fund has gone an extra mile to introduce a package for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. The fund also pays for in – patient services and surgeries. Lawmakers and stakeholders should work out strategies to ensure universal health care is realised in Kenya in order to realise sustainable development goal that promotes good health and human well being.  Mwari Maina, Nyeri

Knec must rescind order on certificates

Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has stopped  the replacement of lost, defaced and burnt certificates. Anyone requiring replacement would instead be given a notification sheet indicating that he or she sat the examination in question. This is unbelievable. How can an institution tasked with administering and issuing certificates decide on its own that it will not issue certificates anymore and that is its core function?

Knec has also stopped the remarking of candidates’ answer scripts after the release of results and banned late registration of candidates. Can the examination council come up with laws which will affect the whole country and be binding? What of students who genuinely lost certificates in fires and robbery etc and they want to pursue studies outside Kenya, will those notification sheets be admissible in the foreign institutions? Let this directive be rescinded and all stakeholders be given a chance to air their views on the matter. No country has ever given notification sheet,why Kenya? These notification sheets are only issued at birth.  Veronica Onjoro, Mombasa

Why GDP isn’t a good economic indicator

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For more than a half century, the most widely  accepted measure of a country’s economic progress has been changes in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If ever there was a controversial icon from the statistics world, GDP is it. It measures income, but not equality, it measures growth, but not destruction, and it ignores values like social cohesion and the environment. Yet, governments, businesses and probably most people swear by it. GDP is the most widely cited economic indicator. As the old quip goes, we value what we measure. The GDP does not adequately reflect the true health of a nation and needs to be replaced by more comprehensive measures. The GDP measures the nation’s economic performance because it is determined by the market value of all final goods and services and has been used since 1934. Using this measure exclusively has placed Kenya at or near the top economically for decades in the regional. Yet, these measures are far too narrow to gauge the overall health of a nation and its people, GDP should not used against equating its growth with well-being.

Useful measures of progress and well-being must be measures of the degree to which society’s goals (i.e., to sustainably provide basic human needs etc.) are met, rather than measures of the mere volume of marketed economic activity, which is only one means to that end. Various alternatives and complements to GDP can be used as measures of economic activity while others measure changes in community capital—natural, social, human, and built—in an attempt to measure the extent to which development is using up the principle of community capital rather than living off its interest.The continued misuse of GDP as a measure of well-being necessitates an immediate, aggressive, and ongoing campaign to change the indicators that decision makers are using to guide policies and evaluate progress. We need indicators that promote truly sustainable development—development that improves the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of the supporting ecosystems.  Ndirangu Ngunjiri, Nairobi

Why 3.5 million schoolgirls missed crucial cancer jabs

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