21 December 2012

Tanzania: Insurance Funds Attract Special Groups

THE National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Community Health Fund (CHF) have started offering services to special groups in the society particularly those engaged in the informal sector.

To start with, 365 women entrepreneurs in Dar es Salaam registered under Wanawake and Maendeleo (WAMA) Foundation officially joined it yesterday.

The entrepreneurs have opened a new landmark with the Fund that looks forward to approaching more groups from the Private Sector to meet its target of registering 30 per cent of the population come 2015.

Speaking at the event, the First Lady and WAMA Chairperson, Mama Salma Kikwete, said that many members of the public particularly women should join Insurance Funds and take advantage of the services offered by the NHIF and CHF.

"Joining these funds will help the entrepreneurs spend their money on intended business purposes instead of using their capital for treatment expenses. So today's development is, indeed, important and worth emulating," she said.

The First Lady called for other stakeholders in the private sector especially, those serving women, to join the Funds and mobilize their members to enrol without delay. She appealed for the authorities to hold accountable health facilities that have been reportedly refusing to offer services to some members with different membership categories since by doing so they violate the service agreements they entered with the Insurance Funds.

The Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi said he was happy that at last NHIF has worked on the government challenge given last year which challenged it to start providing services to special groups in the society.

"It is in so doing that the Fund will be able to reach the 30 per cent membership target by 2015 by reaching many potential members in the private sector," he said. Earlier, the NHIF Director General, Mr Emmanuel Humba, said that out of total 2.8 million members the Fund has registered so far, 1.4 million are women and 1.1 million are children.

This shows how important women were for the Fund to flourish and serve more members in future. He said that the Fund was also implementing a pilot project in Tanga and Mbeya regions where about 5,500 poor expectant mothers are now enjoying medical services after they were sponsored by the one German based International Organization, KFW. "We are looking forward to extending such services to more such groups in more regions in the future," he said.

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