Health insurance on carbs – govt
Projects life expectancy at 74 years by 2030
The Ministry of Health has said it is considering introducing health insurance for the country’s citizens as one way of improving medical care.
Secretary for Health, Dan Namarika, disclosed this in Salima District yesterday during a Ministry of Health Global Fund and Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (Gavi) Media Training.
Namarika said the health insurance system is working perfectly in Rwanda where citizens pay an average of $4 (K3,000) per annum adding that the system could help improve service delivery in hospitals, as it would attract the interest of the private sector.
“What we as Malawians have always asked for is the service. ‘I go to the hospital, I don’t get this’. I go to the hospital, I don’t get that. But the element of financing has not been in our discussion. In fact, we have even challenged our schools that most of our health workers are not taught that there is someone paying for a service.
“Now what we are saying is that for Malawi to attain universal health coverage, leaving no one behind, the government alone cannot do it. We need the private sector to be part of that process. Now the private sector would like to ensure that when they give a service, they recover their money,” Namarika said.
He said for Malawi to expect anyone to get money on a daily basis from their pocket and pay would be doing a disservice to the people.
“So we don’t want our people to have money on a daily basis so that when they go to the hospital, they have to pay cash. The best way to guarantee that our patients or people are served better is to consider introducing a community or national health insurance programme,” Namarika said.
He observed that up until now, the Ministry of Health was only focusing on service provision and not the issue of financing.
He said they have now finished a functional review on the proposal and there is a proposal to have a financing unit.
“We need a unit that would help track progress in health financing. We need to track progress on the link between public and private sectors. The link between supply of medicine versus financing. So we are now at a good moment where as we go towards Global Fund grant application, we will be having this unit in the Ministry of Health which will be reporting to Secretary to Treasury and Secretary for Health because any financing issues must be linked to the Ministry of Finance,” Namarika said.
Former Press Corporation Limited (PCL) Chief Executive Officer, the late Matthews Chikaonda, once proposed that introducing a small fee could help revamp the country’s health sector.
Chikaonda argued that the fees could help address the traditional issues of shortage of medicine and healthcare workers in government hospitals.
The Global Fund last week indicated that it would give Malawi $513 million to help fight malaria, HIV and tuberculosis between 2021 and 2024.
So far Malawi has received about $1.5 billion from Global Fund to fight the three diseases.
The development means that by 2024, Malawi would have received $2 billion from Global Fund.
Namarika said government projects that life expectancy of Malawians would jump from 62 years in 2016 to 74 years in 2030.
Malawi’s life expectancy has improved tremendously since the late 1990s when it was seen at 38 years.
According to Namarika, the projected improved life expectancy is partly due to strides made in addressing the impact of HIV and Aids, improvements in nutrition and improvements in economic statuses of the people.