Kilimanjaro — MEMBERS of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) in Kilimanjaro Region have asked the fund management to allow their dependants to benefit from medical services, instead of restricting them to members of the nuclear family alone.
Speaking to the 'Daily News' over the weekend, they said NHIF was allowing only parents and children to benefit from the contributions of members, which discouraged them because sometimes the parents of members died, leaving the members to take care of relatives who were under the care of the departed parents.
"It is good that NHIF allows five people to benefit from the contributions of one member, but conditions to get those five beneficiaries are so hard and sometime you may find that only one member benefits from the contributions," one member complained.
They said for NHIF to benefit only the nuclear family could work in developed countries where there was no extended family like in Africa, adding that the Fund should allow members to select people whom they want to be regarded their dependents.
For his part, NHIF Manager in Kilimanjaro Region, Mr Fidelis Shauritanga, said NHIF decided to be strict because members were registering people who were not even their relatives.
"As you know, NHIF pays for testing, medicines and all types of surgery, so when it happens that someone needs expensive testing like CT SCAN and MRI by people who are not related to members they buy NHIF cards from the members. We conduct the research and we found out this," he said.
He said some NHIF members were cheating and sometimes reported that their dependents' cards had got lost, but when issued with another card they give it to others and you find that the beneficiaries are more than five.
NHIF in Kilimanjaro Region has 22,735 members who get services from more than 300 registered hospitals and health centres and about 655 registered pharmacies.