Eagerly awaited Community Health Fund (CHF), which seeks among other things to have all Tanzanians registered for medical insurance is scheduled for launching next month.
The CHF Identity Cards (IDs) will be issued at villages and ward health centres after the training sessions to health workers, countrywide.
Dar es Salaam Region Health Secretary Sister Mathew, in an interview with the ‘Daily News’ in the city yesterday said, after a successful pilot project that was conducted in Dodoma, Shinyanga and Morogoro regions, it was high time for the ministry rolled out the project in all 23 regions of Tanzania mainland.
CHF membership allows the household to access medical services without further payments at the primary level. The benefit package is at the discretion of the district. In most cases, the benefits are limited to primary level care and rare cases include secondary care.
Poor households that are unable to pay the premium may be issued with CHF membership cards or exempted subject to the Village Council’s recommendation.
“With this initiative, citizens will easily access their medical cards at the grassroots level from authorities of the village health centres,” she said.
The project is funded by the Swiss government through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Swiss Centre for International Health (SCIH) contributes to improving health systems and people’s access to effective health services and medicines worldwide.
It combines scientific knowledge and practical expertise to reduce inequalities in health. Its approach is to support the health system to respond to health needs and demand of different population groups.
It aims at strengthening the demand side through health promotion and social accountability as well as supplying side by improving health service delivery and system strengthening in the region.
After completion of the five-year (2011-2015) pilot project in Dodoma, Shinyanga and Morogoro, the ministry has embarked on the Jazia Prime Vendor System (PVS), a public private partnership (PPP) to ensure that the funds for procuring medicines are directly disbursed to all health facilities in 23 regions of Tanzania mainland instead of waiting for the drugs from the Medical Stores Department (MSD).
According to Ms Mathew, when the project kicks off next month, beneficiaries of CHF will receive treatment at any health centre unlike an old system where members of the fund were restricted within the registration centres alone.
Earlier, the PPP Coordinator in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Mariam Ongara said through the project, the ministry was equally putting measures in place to have medicines and other medical supplies available at all health facilities by 100 percent.
Dar es Salaam acting Regional Medical Officer Daisy Majamba said through channeling funds directly to health facilities, the services to people will improve and “We have already employed 300 accountants who have been deployed to health centres to ensure that the money is utilised effectively.”