THE government is working on a bill that among other things will set in place a Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) health insurance fund that will address a number of challenges facing soldiers.
The announcement was made in Parliament yesterday by the Minister for Defence and National Service, Dr Hussein Mwinyi when answering a main question posed by Rashid Chuachua (Masasi-CCM) on the need for the TPDF soldiers to be attended by NHIF as it is the case with other public servants.
Dr Mwinyi said as per the standing orders, soldiers are being attended in TPDF hospitals and dispensaries that are within their areas when they fall sick. He added that following increasing number of complaints on the need to register them with the health insurance fund, the government decided to start an initiative to have one for their own.
"The process is at an advanced stage to have TPDF soldiers health insurance fund for better services, as the cards will give them a chance to attend medical services in other accredited hospitals in their nearest zones" he said.
He agreed that there are a number of complaints on the quality, standard and limited access of services offered by army hospitals, attributing the situation to lack of needed funds to meet the running and operation costs, including equipment.
Moreover, he said when in place, the TPDF soldiers' health insurance fund will also give room for retirees to enjoy medical treatment because the current one expires when one retires.
Dr Mwinyi said the deductions of the soldiers will be channeled for the purchase of equipment and medicines and in so doing improve the standard of medical services offered.
"We are in a very good stage, let us be patient, we recognize the importance of health insurance to our soldiers and we are determined to ensure that they get them when need arises" said the Minister. He said soldiers living in areas where there are no army hospitals nearby have been having challenges in accessing health services.