Court Halts Implementation of Three Health Acts
The High Court has issued temporary orders barring the Ministry of Health from implementing three new health acts pending the determination of a petition filed by Joseph Aura.
Justice E.C. Mwita issued the orders, stating that the petitioner had raised significant constitutional and legal concerns that warranted urgent consideration.
“The implementation and enforcement of the Social Health Insurance Act, 2023; the Primary Health Care Act, 2023; and the Digital Health Act, 2023 are hereby restrained until February 7, 2024,” the judge ruled.
He directed that the respondents be served with the pleadings immediately and that they file their responses within seven days of service.
The petitioner, Aura, represented by lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, argues that all three Health Acts are unconstitutional on several grounds, including the infringement of Kenyan citizens’ rights.
Specifically, Aura challenges Section 26(5) of the Social Health Insurance Act, which requires individuals to prove compliance with the Act before accessing public services. He argues that this provision creates a discriminatory class of citizens who are denied access to essential services due to their inability to pay contributions to the social health insurance scheme.
Aura further contends that Section 26(5) was inserted into the Act during the publication stage, bypassing the National Assembly’s constitutional mandate to review and approve legislation.
“The Executive’s attempt to impose a statutory precondition of proof of compliance with the Social Health Insurance Act is an unjustified and unconstitutional restriction on Kenyans’ access to government services for which they pay taxes,” Aura argues.
The court’s decision to halt the implementation of the three Health Acts is a significant development that could have far-reaching implications for the Kenyan healthcare system. The case is expected to proceed to a full hearing, and the court’s ultimate ruling will determine the fate of these controversial laws.