The Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court’s suspension orders, allowing the implementation of the Social Health Insurance Act, which replaces the NHIF Act.
In their decision, Justices Patrick Kiage, Pauline Nyamweya, and Grace Ngenye emphasized the potential harm to citizens caused by the delay, stating, “There is a real and present danger to the health rights of countless citizens who are not parties to the litigation pending before our courts.”
The court documents obtained quote the judges as saying, “We hereby suspend the orders of the High Court restraining the implementation and or enforcement of The Social Health Insurance Act, 2023, The Primary Health Care Act, 2023, and The Digital Health Act, 2023…”
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However, certain sections of the Social Health Insurance Act remain suspended, including those requiring registration and contribution for accessing public services and healthcare.
Section 47(3), which mandates unique identification for health services, also remains suspended.
Parties involved have been given seven days to submit written arguments on the suspended sections, and a hearing date will be scheduled by the Registrar of the Appellate Court before March 31, 2024.
Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, represented by Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia, had appealed the High Court’s decision, arguing that it deprived many Kenyans of medical care in violation of the Constitution.
The Attorney General, expressing concern for patients awaiting the court’s decision, urged the lifting of existing orders.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) contended that the government implemented the new health acts without engaging stakeholders to address concerns.