Friday, July 14, 2017

Graça Machel and former Ireland leader call for affordable healthcare in TZ


By Syriacus Buguzi

Dar es Salaam.  The Elders, a group of independent former leaders, founded by former South African President, Nelson Mandela, have raised their voices high for Tanzanians who miss out on healthcare due to financial difficulties.

Only about 28 per cent of all people in Tanzania can access prepaid healthcare through health insurance, according to government data. Yet the rest, about 36 million people, rely on the out of pocket payment system to access health services at facilities.  

Ms Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and Ms Graça Machel, former Education Minister of Mozambique, who are part of the Elders group, are in Tanzania to campaign for Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

As the leaders met Civil Society Organizations and the media in Dar es Salaam on Friday, Ms Machel asked the government, activists and journalists to be on the frontline in the crusade for universal access to health, especially to rural communities.

“Health is a matter of life and death. There is no waiting. If the media make universal health coverage an agenda, and the civil society put more emphasis, the policymakers will listen and take action,’’ she said.

For her part, Ms Mary Robinson, said it was about time that the policy makers and other stakeholders put more emphasis on recognizing healthcare as a human right in Tanzania.