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Health insurance covers 15 percent of Tanzanians

The Citizen logo The Citizen 05/02/2023 Zephania Ubwani
Arusha. Only about 15 percent of the Tanzanian population of slightly over 60 million are fully covered by health insurance scheme (HIS), the National Health Insurance (NHIF) manager for Arusha region Isaya Shekifu said.The majority enrolled with the NHIF and the Community Health Fund (CHF), accounting for eight and six percent respectively.The rest have enrolled with the health insurance schemes under the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), three percent, and in the private health insurance companies (one percent).Revealing this here recently, he said in total nine million Tanzanians are under the health insurance cover.He said despite the encouraging statistics, collections from the insurance schemes are not enough to cover the costs of health service.“That is why the government has come up with ‘health insurance for all’ scheme which will be implemented from July this year,” he said.This, he said, would enable more people to join the health insurance service, hence generating more funds to improve health delivery.According to him, it is projected that nearly all Tanzanians would be enrolled with ‘health insurance for all’ scheme by 2030.Employers in both the public and private sectors are being requested to enrol their workers for health insurance.Mr Shekifu said the government would create mechanisms under which people in the low income bracket would be assisted.The ‘health insurance for all’ scheme would be implemented, beginning with employees in the public sector in July, this year.Other groups, notably in the private sector and ordinary people in low income group, would follow later until 2029.He added that the government has devised a system under which everybody would be compelled to enrol with a health insurance scheme.These include the driving licences and wondered why some drivers and people in allied categories do not have insurance covers.“Ideally any driver must have a health insurance to show an example to other people a”, added the regional medical officer for Arusha Dr. Silvia Mamkwe.The duo were speaking during the official launching of a vaccination programme targeting under four year kids and 14 year old girls.The four-year immunization programme, to be implemented in Arusha and Shinyanga regions, will target under four children and girls aged 14.It is a partnership between three primary health care organizations; Gir Effect, Gavi and the Vaccine Alliance.The RMO said the programme will bolster the uptake of routine immunization for the children in the under two age bracket.It will as well increase the uptake of HPV vaccine uptake for 14 year old girls, hence improving the overall health conditions of the people, notably children, adolescent girls and young women.In Africa,it will be implemented in Tanzania and Ethiopia and will begin in Monduli and Arumeru district in Arusha region.The programme, the RMO added, the programme “will work in selected communities to drive demand for vaccines among young parents, girls and young women”.In Arusha during the first year of implementation, it will be carried out in Monduli and Arumeru district .The two districts not yet identified in Shinyanga.However, she said due to “misleading myths and misconceptions” about vaccines, they are facing challenges in some communities.Girl Effect country director Ms Khalila Mbowe is optimistic the programme would succeed through effective partnership networks.She said non-state health care organizations were keen on forging the necessary collaborators in the regions and districts to work with in health delivery.“This will allow us to holistically impact missed communities where unvaccinated girls and zero-dose children population reside”, she pointed out.She said it was unfortunate that in some communities girls are restricted from getting the HPV vaccine due to misleading myths.This time around, parental involvement (fathers and mothers) would be integrated in the programme design.Young parents and caregivers are also targeted to drive the uptake of routine immunization services for children under two.The programme will be executed alongside a baseline survey to establish the root causes of barriers to vaccine uptake, said Ms Adela Naali, a manager with Girl Effect.

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