Religious leaders’ support vital in ensuring universal health services

29Jun 2021
Aisia Rweyemamu
MANYARA
The Guardian
Religious leaders’ support vital in ensuring universal health services

THE advocacy done by faith actors on mobilising the public to enroll into the health insurance system has produced positive results in Manyara Region as more people have recognized the importance and are now accessing quality health services.

Rev. Andrew Munisi a Program Offer of Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCT) project in Northern diocese showing journalists some of the prizes they awarded for their excellent performance.

This was said by Rev Andrew Munisi a programme officer with the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCT) project in Northern diocese during a journalists field visit organised by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)-Tanzania.

Rev Munisi explained that many of the projects carried out by religious leaders have been extremely successful because they have a big platform.

“We have been educating people from the grass root level building their capacity on the importance of having health insurance card”.

He added that, through the support NCA-Tanzania, they have been building the capacity to the interfaith committees that exist in every district and when they return to their worship houses (churches or mosques) they use the opportunity to educate and explain to the community the importance of having health insurance.

“Another method that we use in persuading the community is through Vicoba where in each group member required to invest in health insurance, also we use the media.”

Rev Munisi has also acknowledged the great cooperation they receive from the government, asked them to continue their cooperation with religious leaders in implementing various development project.

He called on donors to continue supporting economic empowerment projects because the poverty situation is still high in rural areas.

General Secretary of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) Mbulu Diocese Fabiab Adayo, said all religious leaders including Muslim and Christian have been meeting in district and regional levels to share strategies on how to mobilize and persuade their people to have health insurance.

“Despite the good mobilisation work we do still there is a financial challenge to facilitate transport to reach the people in remote areas”, the GS said.

However, Nizar Seleman a communication and advocacy officer of NCA-Tanzania explained that under fighting inequality programme NCA mobilizes communities and influences duty bearers for fair and equitable finance and redistribution of resources by working for tax justice and social protection, among others, to secure universal health coverage for all Tanzanians.

“The programme aims to ensure all citizens benefit equally from revenue accrued from public resources,” she said. The officer said duty bearers are influenced to increase finance for and spending to reduce poverty and inequality.

The strategic initiative is organized to mobilize rights holders to participate in governance by empowering community anti corruption groups to follow up and track on public resources for development, to reduce mismanagement and address corruption.

Various spaces such as, community hearings, village assemblies, Vicoba platforms and interfaith committees are used for broader public engagement to realise accountable governance.

Through the programme NCA support to building interfaith civil society in numbers Interfaith Standing Committee on Economic Justice and Integrity of Creation – supporting a joint national platform for faith actors to proactively seek solutions for social justice since 2007.

The program is contributing to SDG 1 Reducing poverty, SDG 10 Reducing Inequality, SDG 3 Good health and Wellbeing for All and SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

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