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NHIF installs new system to curb card misuse

THE National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has installed systems to control abuse of beneficiaries’ cards and check embezzlement.

The systems bar beneficiaries from accessing similar services which they had received in one of the accredited health facilities unless it is an emergency.

“We introduced these systems in order to curb misuse of the NHIF cards because some members have been visiting different hospitals on the same day and undergo similar diagnosis ... this is impossible under the new system,” said NHIF Marketing and Customer Services Manager, Hipoliti Lello recently in Dar es Salaam.

He said a patient can be referred to another hospital by following appropriate procedures set out by the fund if he or she needed additional services not found at a centre he or she went.

He noted that the fund has also installed a system that will also accept emergence cases noting that it will continue to improve the system so as to serve many people.

Mr Lello, however, noted that, NHIF has started issuing news cards since January this year to new members and it will continue to phase out the old ones without causing inconveniences to the members.

“We will prepare the new cards using members information which they verified so as to avoid inconveniences, noting that the old cards were still acceptable to accredited health facilities,” he said.

NHIF Acting Director General, Mr Mbaruku Magawa, said that the insurance scheme has continued to improve its systems to facilitate monitoring and fast track the provision of services including payments for the service providers.

“It is important for us to improve our Information and Communication Technology systems in order to improve services ... a member can now receive information through phone after accessing services,” he said.

He noted that the process was under way to disclose even the cost incurred for the service.

NHIF said last week it will introduce new packages that will allow individuals to join the health scheme depending on their financial ability.

The move is in line with the government’s intention to extend the health insurance cover to majority of Tanzanians, who have been missing out the service.

The news came amid a report released recently by religious leaders under the umbrella of Interfaith Tanzania, including the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), BAKWATA and the CCT which indicated that 64 per cent of Tanzanians have no health insurance cover.

Statistics show that 32 per cent of Tanzanians have health insurance; 8 per cent joined the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF); 23 per cent have joined Community Health Fund; while 1 per cent joined the private companies that provide Health Insurance.

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Author: LYDIA SHEKIGHENDA

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