Mountain porters now to be covered under National Health Insurance

15Jan 2020
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
Mountain porters now to be covered under National Health Insurance

THE National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) is now extending coverage to include porters who carry luggage for mountain trekkers scaling Northern Zone peaks.

“We are still widening our scope in reaching out to special groups outside formal employment stables and this time we are including mountain freelance mountain guides and porters,” stated the NHIF Director General, Dr Bernard Konga.

Dr Konga was addressing residents of Arusha during special campaigns to sensitize the mass on the importance of enrolling for the National Health Insurance Funding schemes, one of such public meetings was held at Mbauda open market area, in Arusha City.

The NHIF boss was on view that, Arusha has more than 150 porters, operating at Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, the active Volcanic Mountain of Oldonyo L’engai and the steep terrain Mount Meru.

“Mountain porters work under tough, trying and dangerous environments yet few, if any have any health coverage scheme,” pointed out Dr Konga, adding that it was high time for this group to be also brought under wing.

The response of people joining health schemes countrywide is far from being satisfactory, it was stated here that only 34 percent of citizens are covered under such services.

Tanzania, with a population of 56 million, has only 4 million members (8 percent) of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). About 500,000 Tanzanians are covered in private schemes, while the community health scheme has a lion share at 14 million members or 26 percent of the mass.

The Former speaker of the National Assembly, Mama Anna Makinda who is also the Chairperson for the NHIF’s Board of Directors, said under the new improved NHIF, people in wedlock are not restricted to just a single spouse but up to four wives.

“We have 7700 treatment centers in form of hospitals, dispensaries, health centers and medical drugs’ outlets across the country that handle and recognize the NHIF members, providing them with all essential services,” she said.