Germany avails 20bn/- for ICT in healthcare system

17Oct 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Germany avails 20bn/- for ICT in healthcare system

THE government of Germany has released euros 8million (20bn/-) to be used in strengthening Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the national health insurance system.

Finance and Planning Permanent Secretary Doto James (L) and Germany Charge de Affairs to Tanzania Jorg Herrera, display contract agreement documents moments after signing in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Under the contract Germany will disburse 20bn/- grant to Tanzania aimed to improve information technology and communication in National Health Insurance Fund. Photo: Maelezo

The grant is expected to strengthen ICT by establishing modern and functioning ICT equipment and systems which will enable the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to improve service provision for its members, to achieve universal health coverage.

“Tanzania plans to attain universal health coverage; this will be achieved through implementation of the Single National Health Insurance Fund (SNHIF) that will be compulsory for the breadth of the population,” said Finance and Planning Permanent Secretary Dotto James.

The process of establishing universal coverage is being worked out at different stages within the government and will be pursued by merging public health insurance systems such as the Community Health Fund (CHF) and NHIF.

It is expected to widen the scope of services to rural and uncovered areas, he said, pointing out the need for ICT as expansion covering a great number of people will require sound, convenient and effective ICT systems.

During the past four years, Germany has committed grants amounting to euro 213 million, equivalent to 533.14bn/- to support water, energy, biodiversity, good financial governance sectors as well as the National Audit office.

In his remarks, Jorg Herrera, the Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dar es Salaam said the ICT project to support health insurance will strengthen the efficiency of the health insurance system through digitization. It marks an important stepping stone on Tanzanian’s path to reach universal health coverage.

Areas to be strengthened include claims and reimbursement processes, registration and membership data management and authentication, he elaborated.

“We commend the Tanzanian government for the strong commitment and efforts to attain universal health coverage. We believe that a healthy population is the basis of a healthy and sustainable economy,” he declared.

Tanzania’s National Health Sector Strategic Plan (2015 – 2020) aims to facilitate access for the country’s 50 million people to basic health services that meet objective quality criteria and are more strongly geared to the needs and expectations of the population.

However, financial access barriers and considerable deficits in the quality of health facilities are impeding the achievement of this goal. Barely one fifth of the population has health insurance or uses a community-based prepayment scheme.