At least 7.4 million National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) members risk losing their cover for failing to have the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) cards, popularly known as Huduma Namba.
According to NHIF, out of 13 million principal members and their 26 million dependents, only 5.6 million have been issued with Huduma Nambas.
If a proposed law sails through, the members who are not registered with Huduma Namba will lose their cover with NHIF. The proposed law recognises Huduma Namba cards as the single source of truth for all government services.
“Making NIIMS authenticator at the first instance of functional data will restrict access to quality and timely healthcare to beneficiaries and may ultimately hinder the realisation of UHC,” the NHIF told Parliament.
“Out of the 11.6 million Huduma Namba cards printed, only 5.6 million are NHIF members with their cards printed.”
The Huduma Namba card carries foundational data for adults including full name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, photograph, biometric data, and nationality.
According to government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna, at least 10.5 million cards have been printed so far, with only 7.3 million collecting the cards.
The government is planning for a second mass registration to give a chance to those who never registered in the first phase to possess the document which is set to replace the National Identity card.
The NHIF took issue with Clause 9 of the Huduma Namba Bill and asked MPs to delete the words “at the first instance” in a bid to save millions of its members from being locked out of healthcare services.
“Any government agency that requires personal particulars of a resident individual in order to provide shall at the first instance rely on the NIIMS database to authenticate the foundational data of such individual,” says clause 9 of the Huduma Bill.
The MPs have already agreed with the proposal, stating that “making NIIMS authenticator at the first instance of functional data will restrict access to quality and timely services.”