The Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF) is embarking on supporting the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar by improving the Zanzibar’s health services through health systems strengthening approach, including improving human resources for health and health insurance services.
Speaking with the Zanzibar Minister for Health, Hon. Nassor Mazrui, recently in Zanzibar, the BMF Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ellen Mkondya-Senkoro said the Foundation is keen to be amongst the many partners who wish to respond to the vision of President Dr. Hussein Mwinyi of attaining health coverage for all.
“The Development Vision 2050 of Zanzibar which is further cemented by President H.E. Dr. Hussen Mwinyi vision of having Universal Health Coverage in Zanzibar is commendable, and is an agenda which is finely aligning to the Mkapa Foundation Strategic direction”. Dr. Senkoro said.she said.
The Minister for Health informed the delegation that “Health Services in Zanzibar have been provided for free and this has created a financial burden to the Government. To align to the UHC principles, the Government is committed to have in place health Insurance for all, and we are in advanced stage to enact such legislations and policy. More workings will follow to ensure the poor segment of the population are well accommodated in this scheme of health insurance for all”.
In a bid to address the health insurance for all , Dr. Senkoro said there is need to make sure that the health services provision from dispensaries, health centers, district, and regional hospitals are in good condition and able to provide quality services in return so as to meet demand and client expectations. Hence it is critical to invest on the health facilities with adequate skilled health workers, medication and equipment beside infrastructure improvement. .
The Mkapa Foundation met the Minister for Health to cement their renewed partnership with the Revolution Government of Zanzibar. In Februarya and March 2021, BMF had a courtesy call with President Mwinyi followed by consultative meeting with the Ministry of Health, respectively. The latter meeting resulted into agreed areas of priorities to be addressed through collaborative efforts of BMF and Government of Zanzibar.
“However, we have two areas which we shall support, which are human resources for health and health financing because this is where BMF has the competence and bold experience, and we can work on that area much better,” she said.
In addition, Dr. Senkoro shared their experience in Mainland of technically supporting the Government in planning, recruitment and deployment of health workers in the health facilities which could be customized and adopted in Zanzibar context. This was made possible also through different financing partners such as Global Fund to fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria, USAID, Irish aid and others.
She further informed the Minister for Health on the willingness of BMF to technically support Zanzibar on responding to emerging diseases such as COVID-19 understanding that we require resilient health systems at the health facilities and community for health promotion, prevention and also quality care on COVID-19 cases. BMF commended the Government for the recent announcement on the plans for deployment of COVID-19 vaccine and again BMF is keen to support to reach the intended goals set by the Ministry of Health.