Universal health coverage in focus at MCL health camp - The Citizen

Universal health coverage in focus at MCL health camp

Sunday April 7 2019

 

By Syriacus Buguzi @TheCitizenTz @buguzi news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. City residents yesterday turned up in large numbers for health checkups during the MwananchiAfyaCamp.

Mwananchi Communications Limited organised the health camp.

It came just a day before countries marked World Health Day, with a focus on access to healthcare in the form of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Experts from the Aga Khan Hospital Dar es Salaam, CCBRT, Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre and Pharmacy Council camped at Leaders Club to offer free health education and medical consultations to city residents from morning to sunset yesterday.

Ms Maimuna Samson, 40, a resident of Tegeta in Kinondoni District, Dar es Salaam, said she read about the health camp on social media and believed it was an opportunity to seek the advice of medics about her blood pressure problems that she has been facing over the years.

“You see, it’s not easy visiting a doctor at a hospital and get such an opportunity to ask many questions. Besides, I don’t have health insurance so I find it difficult to pay for several visits to a doctor,’’ she says.

“I have been advised about joining health insurance but I realised that I need to be formally employed to achieve that,” she says.

‘I really don’t know if there are ways of getting health insurance. I think such camps are helpful for us to get knowledge on that aspect too,’’ she told The Citizen as she stood behind several other Dar residents on a long queue for consultations at the camp which was also sponsored by CRBD Bank, KCB Bank and Liaison Group.

Ms Samson was diagnosed with high blood pressure three years ago and she was put on lifelong medications.

As a petty trader, she says: “When I go to hospital, medical tests are so expensive, let alone seeing a doctor. I have to pay a lot of money if I go there regularly.’

She is not alone. In Tanzania, more than 60 per cent of people do not have health insurance, says a Policy Brief that was issued by Human Development Trust (HDT), one of the key advocacy organisations that teamed up to offer health education at the MwananchiAfyaCamp.

HDT advocacy officer Belinda Kijangwa said it was about time that Tanzanians got informed about the various ways they can join health insurance schemes.

“As we campaign for Universal Health Coverage, we aim not to leave anyone behind. There are many economic benefits of investing in this [Universal Health Coverage],’’ she said as she spoke to journalists during the MwananchiAfyaCamp.

The World Health Organisation calls upon policymakers and other stakeholders to focus on UHC in ensuring that everyone can obtain the care they need, when they need it, right in the heart of the community.

Only about 30 per cent of all Tanzanians are enrolled on health insurance as per the latest Tanzania Demographic and Malaria Indicator Survey. The rest, the survey shows, have to pay directly from their pockets to access healthcare.