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Tanzania’s Private Health Providers Say They Won’t Accept NHIF Members As Talks Falter

They say that NHIF has failed to accommodate their views about the new proposed rates, leaving them with no other option than refusing to provide services to the Fund’s cardholders.

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Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s private health providers said Tuesday that starting March 1, 2024, they will no longer be accepting National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) members as the two have failed to agree on the new proposed rates.

The Private Health Facilities in Tanzania (APHFTA), the Christian Social Service Commission (CSSC) and the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) said in a joint statement that NHIF has failed to accommodate their views about the rates, leaving them with no other option than refusing to provide services to the Fund’s cardholders.

APHFTA, CSSC, and BAKWATA have been engaging a ministerial committee to resolve the issue surrounding the new rates that private health providers boycotted as soon as NHIF unveiled them in late 2023.

The new proposed rates, which the government intended to bring into force on January 1, 2024, NHIF, under the excuse of reflecting current market prices, reduced the payments it would cover for medical consultation and treatment, forcing the private health sector providers to protest, threatening to withhold services from NHIF cardholders.

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Following the backlash, on January 4, 2024, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu met with private health providers in the country and announced the formation of an independent committee that will engage relevant stakeholders to resolve the issue. The committee was given one month to finalise all engagements.

But almost two months after the talks were announced, there appears to be no success, with relevant actors returning to square one in a situation that is more likely to hurt ordinary Tanzanians who depend on the NHIF to get quality health services at affordable prices. 

In their joint statement on Tuesday, APHFTA, CSSC and BAKWATA said the new rates are not “acceptable” to them, and they will therefore “be unable to provide health services” to NHIF members, which by June 2022 totalled 8.6 million.

The private health providers’ statement followed a letter the government sent them on February 27, 2023, informing them of its intention to implement the new rates on March 1, saying the move follows the engagements it has had with all relevant stakeholders.

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“[NHIF] will continue to receive views, advice and recommendations aimed at improving the availability of quality health services to all of its beneficiaries and continue to advise the government accordingly,” the letter, whose copy The Chanzo saw, reads in part.

On Wednesday, NHIF Director General Bernard Konga told journalists in Dar es Salaam that the new rates will come into force on March 1, saying that he hopes its implementation will help improve the provision of quality and affordable health services to NHIF members. 

“[NHIF] appreciates any individual health provider in Tanzania based on the service agreements they have with the Fund,” Mr Konga said during the press conference. “We’ll continue to engage all stakeholders to ensure everyone’s goal is realised.”

After the circulation of the statement it jointly released with APHFTA and CSSC on Tuesday, BAKWATA came out on Wednesday to distance itself from it, with its Social Service Commissioner Yahya Ipuge telling Daily News Digital that the council does not “recognise” such a statement.

“We have seen the statement, but as BAKWATA, we are not responsible for it, nor do we recognise it,” Dr Ipuge said. “We received a formal letter from NHIF, which is on the [BAKWATA’s] general secretary, and we shall respond. We’re responsible for the statement circulating on social media.”


Lukelo Francis is The Chanzo’s journalist from Dar es Salaam. He is available at lukelo@thechanzo.com.

4 Responses

  1. Watu wanaoumwa na tiba zinaendelea Kwa kutumia kadi za nhif itakuaje
    Hii itakuwa sio sahihi Kwa hospitali kukataa huduma

    Inahitajika njia mbadala kama vile diesel na petroli ilivyo fanyiwa ruzuku mhe rais

    Please mhe rais aingilie kati maana wananchi wataumia sana Tena sana

    Shukran

  2. Hizi bei mpya elekezi iliyotolewa na NHIF ziwekwe hadharani katika platform za mitandao, wananchi pia wana haki za kuzielewa.

    Vituo vingi vinavyotoa huduma za kiafya watakuwa na gharama kubwa za kuendeshea kazi hizi kwa kujitegemea.

    Wizard husika waangalie haraka na kufikia suluhisho muafaka. Makato ya NHIF ya kila mwezi haijabadilika.

  3. Hizi bei mpya elekezi iliyotolewa na NHIF ziwekwe hadharani katika platform za mitandao, wananchi pia wana haki za kuzielewa.

    Vituo vingi vinavyotoa huduma za kiafya watakuwa na gharama kubwa za kuendeshea kazi hizi kwa kujitegemea.

    Wizara husika waangalie haraka na kufikia suluhisho muafaka. Makato ya NHIF ya kila mwezi haijabadilika.

  4. Hili swala ni gumu sana kwa wastaafu ambapo wanaishi tu kwa pension ya kila mwezi ambayo kwa mfumuko wa bei ulivyo kwa wakati huu haitoshi kabisa. Tunaopata, kwa mfano, huduma za mionzi kama matibabu ya saratani inatupasa kulipa zaidi elfu hamsini kila siku. Kwa hali ilivyo ni hukumu ya kuishi bila matibabu na matokeo yake yanafahamika!

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