Zimbabwe government to introduce National Health Insurance Scheme

Douglas Mombeshora
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GOVERNMENT has set a target to put in place the National Health Insurance (NHI) Scheme by July this year, to enhance access to quality healthcare services and reduce the vulnerability faced by ordinary citizens.

A document outlining how the insurance scheme will work is set to be submitted before Parliament during the coming few weeks.

The National Health Insurance Scheme,seeks to ensure that health services are accessible to all citizens, in line with Section 76 of the Constitution, which stipulates that:

“Every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has the right to have access to basic healthcare services.

Studies have shown that only 10 percent of Zimbabweans are on medical aid, leaving 90 percent without medical cover.

Like the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), which was established through an Act of Parliament, every person in formal employment would be compelled to contribute to the Fund, which would be used to finance the public health system in the country including purchasing essential drugs and equipment, as well as building requisite infrastructure.

In an interview, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Douglas Mombeshora, said everything was now in place for the NHI.

“I think quite a lot of work has been done and I can assure you that by July we should have it in place. Paperwork has been done and we will be presenting it to the Parliament anytime soon,” he said.

“It’s not the Ministry of Finance providing funds. There are suggestions of where you take the funds from. It’s not like a budget line to say, there is the money, but it will be like using taxes to collect the fund for example.

“It’s going to be a continuous collection like medical aid where people contribute every month. It’s not like a one-time budget, where you say, we have got ZW$200 million and you put it there.”

Minister Mombeshora, said more details will be availed on how it will work but like medical aid, members of the public will contribute monthly.

An NHI is regarded as one of the best routes to achieving Universal Health Coverage, which Zimbabwe is also aiming for, as medical care will be made accessible and affordable to general folk.

Experts say no country has made significant progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) without relying on a dominant share of public funds to finance health.