Tanzania: Mwanza Residents Air Views to Improve UHC Bill

Mwanza — SOME Mwanza residents have called upon the government to include mortuary services in the Universal Health Coverage (UHSC) Bill to allow members die to get the services.

Currently a member with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) ceases to be beneficiary of the fund once they die , thus the cost for mortuary services are not covered under the fund.

The stakeholders are now requesting the government to include that requirement in the UHC.

The residents raised their concern during a gathering organized by the Ministry of Health which included various groups among others religious leaders, fishermen, peasants, entrepreneurs, petty traders and motorcyclists.

A member of the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) in Mwanza, Mr Twaha Utali, said that services covered under the NHIF should included mortuary services.

“The current system does not cover mortuary services for a member who has died… the benefits ends once a member die regardless how long he has contributed this should be reviewed in the coming UHC,” he said.

They also said that herbal medicines should also be covered in UHC as long as the service provider has been registered.

Tanzania Fisheries Union (TAFU) Spokesperson Mr Sijaona James said that some people prefer traditional medicines than modern medicines thus they should also be included in UHC so that people can have wide choice of treatment.

The residents further called upon the government to review the number of beneficiaries from the current six to unlimited number because some families has ten or more children.

They also recommended the government to make public the amount of money to be paid y members under UHC.

Responding, the Director for Legal Services in the Ministry of Health, Mr Rahib Mashombo, said that the amount of money to be contribute by members from informal sector was yet to be included in the bill the aim is to give room for any changes.

He clarified that when the amount is mentioned in the Bill, when there are necessary changes then the mater will need to be taken to the Parliament for approval.

“To ease such a process, the responsible Minister has been given power to make any necessary changes at any time,” he said.

However, he added, the amount for the formal sector has already been set, which is six per cent where the employer is required t cover three per cent.

The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Prof Abel Makubi, said the government has taken all the concerns and pledged to work on them for further improvements,.

Prof Makubi called upon the residents to prepare for joining the fund once approved by Parliament because the scheme will be very useful to them.

“Some people sell their plots or livestock so that they can get money for medical treatment thus UHC will address such challenges,’

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