The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has embarked on a special mission to provide health covers to farmers using a special credit facility in collaboration with banks.
The fund, said that banks will provide a credit line to farmers via their Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) that deals with strategic crops such as coffee, tobacco, sisal, cotton, and cashew nuts.
The NHIF’s Director of Membership Services, Christopher Mapunda said with the interest-free loans, beneficiaries will make payment after selling they produces.
“Already we are working with the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) which is issuing interest free loans to some farmers. “We have started with farmers who produce strategic crops. The idea is to reach wide number of people,” Mr Mapunda said during NHIF’s editors meeting here.
The NHIF said the main challenge facing the fund is to reach as many individuals and groups in the society especially those outside the formal sector.
The fund target to reach other groups including journalists, fishermen, farmers, street hawkers and mama lishe. Currently some 4.4million are members of the public health insurance funds where 25 per cent are from CHIF and 8.0per cent NHIF.
The private sector has so far, reached 1.0 per cent of the population.
To address the challenge the government is finalising a plan that will ensure all citizens have health insurance regardless of their financial social status.
The Director of Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Edward Mbwanga said the plan will enable those living under the poverty line to also access the national insurance fund services.
“The responsible government will ensure its, citizens regardless of their income, receive quality health services…. “The challenge is accommodating those who could not afford to pay for the service. I am glad to say we’re finalising the process,” he said.
The fund also said health service providers have increased to 8,970 currently compared to 6,185 centers. On improving the service, NHIF introduced online selfregistration of new members and verification facilities.
Also increased the number of medicinal issuance by 70 to current 925. The fund also planned to start receiving service providers’ claim online to quickening the pace of receiving and settlement.
“The idea is to do away late payment claims from suppliers,” Mr Mapunda said.
NHIF also set to introduce NHIF mobile App that among other things will send sms to a member immediately a cost of service after receiving treatment.