Universal health insurance: the government cancels the second reading

Universal health insurance: the government cancels the second reading

Parliamentary officials could not say why the postponement occurred, despite it having been provided for in an earlier House business schedule.

The Universal Health Insurance Scheme Bill 2022 would make it mandatory for all individuals to be part of a viable and well-funded health insurance scheme.

Current statistics indicate that 85% of Tanzanians are not covered by health insurance, where the bill proposed an annual payment of 340,000/- for a standard package for a family of four dependants.

Said Makora, the communications officer for the Ministry of Health, explained recently that the new legislation aims to cover Tanzanians from 15% health coverage or four million people currently to at least 50% coverage.

The bill is part of legislative work after the Abuja Declaration was ratified at a World Health Organization global conference in 2010, picking up on an earlier resolution in September 2000, where 189 heads of state adopted the Millennium Declaration to improve social and economic conditions by allocating up to 15% of public resources to health, adopted in the Nigerian capital of Abuja in April 2010.

While the critical issues at the time concerned pressing health issues, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the issue was largely resolved by greater allocations at the multilateral level.

Another source of the bill is the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), a high-level statement aimed at securing commitments to achieve Sustainable Development Goal number three on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), achieving the goals set out in the WHO NTDs. roadmap for 2021 to 2030.

An online column says the resolution was the subject of extensive consultations involving a wide range of stakeholders, with a national task force co-chaired by Rwanda and Nigeria. The declaration emphasizes country ownership of NTD programs, hence the need for their integration into medical care and intersectoral collaboration to ensure long-term sustainability, such as the inclusion of non-communicable diseases in a universal health insurance package.

The Kigali Protocol also aimed to increase health spending to at least 10% of the national budget while encouraging countries to have universal health insurance coverage.

Critics say such resolutions are passed not because African countries are bent on adopting similar fiscal policies, but to attract donor willingness to increase funding for these sectors based on sector-strengthening programs. continent-wide health.

The ministerial official considered that the proposed bill aims to create greater equality in access to health services, by widening access to health services from the level of the dispensary to the referral hospitals without limitation of procedure or cost.

With the improvement of health sector facilities through massive investments in the construction of hospitals and health centers, the proposed bill aims to ensure quality health services to the entire population, did he declare.

Senior ministry officials expect most cases referred to hospitals to be treated at maximum district hospitals, as they would have most diagnostic and treatment services, he said.

Under the proposed bill, the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will be regulated by the Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) for the services it provides and by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) for how it manages the investments made into it.

The delayed bill established three separate groups of health insurance contributions, namely public and private sector employees contributing 3% of their monthly salary, then the unemployed and special groups.

The Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) has pointed out in an assessment of the postponed bill that it leaves it to the Minister of Health to sort out critical issues through a regulatory framework.

These issues should be resolved in the established policy, provided for in the appropriate bill and subject to the approval of the legislature, the activist body had demanded.

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