Govt revives National Health Insurance Scheme plans

Government has revived plans to establish National Health Insurance Scheme in an effort to make universal health coverage a reality, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo have said.

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Speaking during belated World Health Day commemorations in Harare yesterday, Dr Moyo said Government was looking forward to have the NHIS established by January next year.

He said this was in line with Government’s efforts to improving access to health care for ordinary Zimbabweans, which coincides with this year’s theme for the world health day: “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere, Every time.”

“We have already started working on the NHIS, our plans are already well advanced. We are working together with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

“This has been on the ground for the past 15 years, but we want to make sure that we get the NHIS established so that we can be able to provide universal health coverage,” said Dr Moyo.

He said Government was looking forward to having set up the scheme by January 2020.

“The consultants working on it have already done their initial investigations and have come up with a document. As per the recommendation of that investigation we have now set up a special steering committee. We want to see the NHIS taking off by January next year,” said Dr Moyo.

He said universal health coverage in Zimbabwe was going to be a reality because of operationalisation of the NHIS.

He said the other existing medical aid societies will complement the NHIS by providing cover to those who can afford.

“The existing schemes, the medical aid societies will also play a major role and they continue to play major role because they provide cover to people who have the financial capability to access services from higher levels, but we are now looking at the general population,” said Dr Moyo.

The World Health Day commemorations is held every 7th of April each year. This year’s theme focused on advantages of universal health coverage. Universal health coverage is one of the targets for the achievement of the sustainable development goals by 2030.

Speaking at the same occasion, World Health Organisation’s country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said while Zimbabwe had made progress towards universal health coverage in preventive areas such as HIV, more needed to be done to address access availability issues.

He said WHO, working closely with technical and funding partners, was working towards accelerating support to countries to re-align their health services and consider strategic shifts to achieve universal health coverage.

Dr Gasasira commended Zimbabwe’s aspirations of becoming an upper middle economy by 2030 through a number of reforms enunciated in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).

“An important component of the TSP is human development.

“The TSP includes priority strategies and activities aimed at achieving equitable coverage and enhanced quality of health delivery, all of which are in line with universal health coverage and primary health care,” he said.

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