HEALTH and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has assured that the long overdue National Health Insurance scheme should be operational come 2020.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
At a time when resources in the health sector are heavily constrained where doctors are on strike on one end, while on the other is the obtaining deterioration of the country’s healthcare delivery system, the National Health Insurance Scheme is crucial in achieving universal health coverage.
In an interview with HealthTimes on the sidelines of Baines Intercare Medical Centre on Thursday, the Health Minister said they were impressed with what the consultant they hired crafted.
We already have a consultant who did the document. It’s been reviewed by the ministry and it has been accepted. What’s left now is for it to be presented to cabinet,” he said.
He added that an inter-ministerial team will be formed to produce a final document.
“Once it has been approved, we will have an inter-ministerial team who will work flat out to come out with the final document and the bill for presentation to parliament. There has to be a bill, it just can’t be an ordinary insurance,’ Minister Moyo said.
Minister Moyo said they expect to have the NHI by end of 2020.
“The Health Insurance Scheme should be availed in 2020, end of 2020. These things take time. There has to be wide consultations,” he said.
The Health Minister said they were financially supported by the European Union for drafting the NHI document.
“The consultant did their job and they are gone. It was a tender and then a consultant was identified. They were paid for. They came through the French. So it comes through the EU support,” he said.
The National Health Insurance scheme ensures health services are accessible and affordable to citizens.
He told journalists on the sidelines of the World Health Day Commemorations in May that plans to realise Universal Health Coverage through this health scheme are well on course.
“With universal health coverage we are looking at national health insurance. We have already started on the national health insurance scheme. Our plans are very well advanced now working together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Services. This has been on the ground over the past 16 years but we want to make sure that we get the national health insurance established so that we will be able to provide universal health coverage,” he said.
Deputy director of policy and planning in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Mr Tonderai Kadzere said the health insurance will be mandatory.
“How are we deconstructing universal health coverage in Zimbabwe? So in Zimbabwe, the question Honourable Minister is how do we get access for the services? That’s the first thing. Are we able to get access? So there are two strategies.
“Number one is to enhance our financial protection mechanisms. I know most of us might recall that Zimbabwe has been struggling to establish national health insurance for the past 16 years. And I’m seeing WHO are here, they can testify that a country outside the National Health Insurance, forget about Universal Health Coverage. So we are also grateful, this is one of the current reformations that we are having in terms of looking at National Health Insurance,” he said.
He added, “And in that the Ministry is not moving alone, that is why we also have the ministry of labour and social services and also the ministry of finance. So we now have a concrete roadmap to develop a national health insurance for Zimbabwe which is going to be mandatory. And for that the principle is solidarity. That the rich need to subsidize for the poor. Those who are well must be subsidized for those who are unwell. And Im sure all us as Zimbabweans with Ubuntu we are going to implement that,” he said.