According to WHO over 100 million people end up impoverished after illness and being subjected to unforeseen health expense of a magnitude they cannot bear. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) aims to enable equity in access to quality health services while protecting individuals, families and communities against helpless financial crisis.
The Mkapa Foundation is addressing Universal Health Coverage by its strategic focus of enhanced financial solutions to accelerate access to health and related services. This is to ensure the poor and the vulnerable access the appropriate quality health services by advancing improved Community Health Fund (iCHF), an alternative health insurance scheme meant to cover the informal sector and rural communities with essential services up to the regional hospital with referral from primary facilities. Insurance enrollment in Tanzania is at 9% for women and 9.5% for men and this includes 4.5% through community based insurance.
The Mkapa Foundation has stepped up mobilization by Community Health Workers increasing information and education on the benefits of iCHF and now Itilima, which is one of the 6 districts in Simiyu Region with a last census report of about 313,000 inhabitants, is witnessing commendable strides in iCHF enrollment as community members increasingly turn up to be enrolled. From 6-12th January 2022; 428 households were enrolled creating revenue of 12.8M for the district coffers.
This is a result of intensified efforts by the district team and CHW’s. The target is to enroll 3000 households by March 2022
The enrollment is a result of intensified sensitization and awareness activities in the community, as compared to sensitization and awareness previously being confined to the health facilities and dispensaries only.
“ .also the enrollment of households continues and we are following up every step of the way ensuring they already have been entered into the system and can wait for their cards from the regional office”
Explaining the cause for this successful turnout for enrollment, the coordinator thus elaborated
“Before the focus was enrollment at dispensaries and health facilities but now the District Medical Officer and Community Health Worker coordinator have increased mobilization and awareness raising.”
This demonstrates that cooperation of the Regional Authorities, Council Health Management Teams (CHMT’s), Facility in charges, Community Health Workers (CHWs), Community members, ward and village leaders is important in rolling out iCHF.
iCHF serves the low income bracket of people living below the poverty line, it ensures a safety net guarding against the indignity of being helpless in the face of illness.