MUHIMBILI National Hospital (MNH) has asked Members of the Parliament( MPs) to push for Universal Health Insurance (UHI), saying it would relieve the burden of health costs to the poor.
In the past six months, the national referral hospital treatment costs waiver were nearly 10bn/- to patients who could not afford paying for medical bills.
MNH Executive Director, Professor Mohamed Janabi, revealed this to members of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development.
“From July to December 2022 the MNH incurred burden amounting 9.8bn/- to treat patients who failed to pay for the services provided to them. We ask the Members of Parliament to push and pass the UHI Bill so as to relieve us from this burden and which has negative effects to health services provided,” he said.
Prof Janabi said such amount was in form of treatment costs, foods and other social services while at the hospital. Other costs included police postmortems to injured or people killed.
He reminded the parliamentarians that MNH, being a national referral hospital, needs quicker interventions such as Uuniversal Health Cover (UHC) I, so as to meet all medical expenses so that it can continue offering services unhindered by increasing medical bills from the poor.
UHI bill will be tabled in the ongoing Parliament for the second and third reading; emphasis has been placed on importance of the scheme in relieving Tanzanians, especially the most vulnerable ones, from digging deeper into their pockets to service their medical bills.
Recently, the Minister for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, disclosed in a meeting with editors from various media houses in Dar es Salaam, that the UHC plan has been supported by the major improvements undertaken by the government to ensure reliable access to health service delivery for all Tanzanians.
“The issue of cost is a big challenge to most of the people in accessing medical services in the health facilities… the UHC will tackle the challenge and ensure majority of Tanzanians are being accommodated in the scheme,” said Ms Mwalimu.
She noted that in the bill, it has been proposed that a household comprising six people will contribute 340,000/-, which is a standard basic package. Civil servants and workers from the private sector will contribute six per cent from their salaries.
The committee’s chairperson, Mr Stanslaus Nyongo, hailed transformation made at the medical facility, while calling for cooperation to fulfil its duty of saving lives and keep healthy nation.