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President Samia signs the Health Insurance Bill for All

02.11.2023

A public health insurance scheme with no financial implications on PWDs

According to sources from the Mwananchi newspaper, Journalist Herieth Makwetta reported that one month after the Parliament of the United Republic Tanzania passed the Health Insurance Bill for All, President Samia Suluhu Hassan signed it into a law.

November 2nd, 2023 the parliament passed the bill and made history, after a deadlock that existed for almost five years since it was revived in 2018. A statement issued by the Ministry of Health yesterday, December 4th, states that the bill has already been signed by the president and will become an official law after being published in the government gazette on December 2023.

The president’s signature on the law gives the Ministry of Health the task of formulating regulations in order to start implementation of the law, which will enable Tanzanians to get health services without economic obstacles. To achieve that, the parliamentary standing committee on health and the AIDS matters, emphasized the importance of having a fund to cover health insurance for the poor, and the government should manage it to ensure that every citizen gets good health care.Through that law there will be a procedure for the identification and registration of a group of people with disabilities (PWDs), with the aim of ensuring that they get health services without financial constraints. The group will be included in the public health insurance scheme in a manner that will be specified in the regulations that will be formulated later.

Income tax from excise duty to finance the Health Insurance Scheme

While reading the bill in the parliament for the last time, Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu said that the source of income used to finance this scheme will include part of the tax income from excise duty (duty charged on specific goods and services). “…on carbonated drinks, alcoholic beverages, cosmetic products, gaming tax, motor vehicle insurance fee and revenue from electronic transaction tax…”said Minister Ummy Mwalimu.

CHT Director, Mr.Hakim commented on this news saying that this law is an uplifting development, one that organizations such as CHT have been advocating for years. The director continued by saying that, although CHT is grateful for all the efforts that the government puts into paving the way, there is a considerably large community of PWDs, some groups needing more priority that others, and the government would need time and resources to reach the whole community. The point of the matter is that, while the government prepares to implement the law, the CHT team will still proceed with implementation of their fundraising campaigns meant to raise enough funds in order to pay Health insurance for children that are under their wing and urgently need their support, and urges all stakeholders to come forward and take action. This is an implementation of the government’s request for organizations such as CHT and private sectors to collaborate on supporting PWDs.