TANZANIA Tour Guides Association (TTGA) is hatching plans to include all tour, safari and mountain guides, under official health schemes in order to ensure that they can be helped should anything happen.
The TTGA Board Chairman Ally Ramadhan said at the moment the association members are covered under ‘flying doctor services,’ as per recently hatched contract which is an important step on that many guides work far away in the field or remote places thus needing rescue.
Tour and driver guides operate in most challenging and sometimes quite dangerous environment, yet majority of Safari and Mountain Guides in the country are not covered under any health insurance scheme; it was revealed in Arusha.
Speaking during the Tanzania Tour Guides Association’s Annual General Meeting the TTGA Chairperson, Halifa Msangi revealed here that the number of Tour, Safari and Mountain Guides in the country has reached 6,000 so far, but only 730 of them have been enrolled into the National Health Insurance Scheme, leaving nearly 5,300 others out in the cold.
According to Msangi even when it comes to the affiliation of the Tanzania Tour Guides Association, most Safari Guides continue to stay out of the enrolment because the association has just 1,360 members.
“Through TTGA we have started special arrangements to provide members with NHIF cards under joint scheme but it seems many will still be left out,” he said, adding that many of them have been enrolled in industry oriented association, thus missing out on plenty of associated benefits.
It was explained during the meeting that the reason why most Tour and Safari Guides in the country have been operating without NHIF cover or any of the related schemes was because majority of these people happen to be freelancers, working outside formal employment arrangements.
Safari Guides take tourists to visit National Parks, Game Reserves and other attractions in the country, being exposed to various risky situations such as road accidents, beast attacks, sudden sickness occurrences and natural disasters but it seems a few of them find health insurance to be important thing.
Hosiana Siao, a lady tour and driver guide in-charge of disciplinary department at the Tanzania Tour Guides Association, says: “The position I have endowed with is simply meant to encourage other ladies to join the male dominated industry.”
According to Siao, Staying far away from families and working in remote and dangerous places are factors that make most women to stay far away from the tour and safari guide profession.
The TTGA Annual General Meeting was followed by general election to choose the association’s new leaders.