TANZANIA: The government has urged private sector stakeholders to devise innovative health insurance products targeting low income earners.
The Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye said at the weekend that the private sector initiative will beef up government efforts in enhancing health insurance coverage in the country.
Mr Nape was commenting on the latest collaboration between Airtel Tanzania with Jubilee Insurance and Axieva in introducing ‘Afya Bima’ health insurance services.
“The move has come at the right time as President Samia Suluhu Hassan has just signed the Universal Health Insurance Bill to enable more Tanzanians to benefit from the scheme,” he said.
He said the substantial investment made by the government in improving healthcare infrastructure would not be meaningful if citizens fail to access health services due to high medical bills.
He said the government has made significant investments in expanding various health service infrastructures, including building dispensaries at the village level, health centres at the ward level, district hospitals, regional referral hospitals, zonal hospitals, and national hospitals.
He said the partnership between these private companies will save the lives and economy of many Tanzanians who were not covered by health insurance.
Lack of health insurance coverage is forcing most people to use cash and sometimes sell their assets to foot the medical bills for their own and their dependents.
He said the introduction of ‘Afya Bima’ will help many Tanzanians benefit from the quality healthcare provided in public hospitals.
“The significant thing is that this insurance targets all Tanzanians, especially those who cannot afford to pay for medical treatment such as motorcyclists, taxi drivers and food vendors,” he added.
Airtel Money Director, Mr Charles Rugambwa said that the health insurance service, Afya Bima is one of Airtel’s strategies to bring innovative and easy-to-join services to Tanzanians through digital means, all Airtel Money customers can join using smartphones or non-smartphones handsets.
“Since Afya Bima health insurance is for everyone, and this is the season leading to the New Year, I urge Airtel Money customers to gift their loved ones by paying for health insurance packages,” he said.
On his part, Jubilee Insurance Chief Executive Officer Dr Harold Adamson said the health insurance has three plans namely Afya Poa, Afya Supa and Afya Dhahabu allowing customers to choose packages based on their needs.
Earlier, Airtel Tanzania’s Director of Corporate Communications, Ms Beatrice Singano said the company is implementing the directives of the Minister of Information, Communications, and Information Technology Nape Nnauye to ensure that ICT service providers devise innovative products to benefit all citizens.
She said that the new Health Insurance service will benefit approximately 17.5 million Tanzanians using the Airtel network, allowing them to access affordable medical treatment in over 600 healthcare facilities nationwide, providing relief to citizens during illnesses and enabling them to continue working.