The minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu madel this observation yesterday during a tour of the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) branch, the Mloganzila teaching hospital on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.
The minister was responding to a question from an outpatient at the referral facility who lamented the high costs of insurance packages offered by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).
“I understand there has been a challenge of affordability, but as government we have already prepared a draft strategy and what is remaining now is an analysis of how to go about it, including how to sustain the fund and contributions,” she said.
In November last year, NHIF issued health insurance packages which sparked debate on mainstream media as well as social media as many said they were too expensive for the common people without regular salaries or going businesses.
The minister said the government was working to ensure all those who need hospital care were getting services at affordable cost, noting that efforts were also being put in place to ensure that services improve across the country.
“I made this tour to see for myself the services being offered as a notion was being spread that the services offered here are poor, with patients left to intern doctors. But let me ask Tanzanians that let’s trust our doctors for the job they are doing,” she appealed.
In his remarks, MNH Executive Director Prof Lawrence Museru said the use of interns is part of medical professional training, noting that they always work under supervision of specialists who direct them what to do the same way it is done at MNH in downtown Dar es Salaam.
The emerging state-of-the-art teaching hospital at Mloganzila is an outcome of an aid agreement with South Korea signed in 2010, for a 49.5m US dollar grant towards the hospital's infrastructure costs.
The centre provides medical services and academic programmes, to add to efforts to reduce the number of people travelling abroad to seek medical services.