On November 1, 2023, the Tanzanian National Assembly witnessed the passage of the much-anticipated Universal Health Care Bill.
The bill, which has been a subject of national interest, aims to provide health insurance for all Tanzanian citizens, with special provisions for the financing of health care for the poor.
The legislation was passed unanimously, reflecting a collective commitment to healthcare reform.
Under the new law, an equity fund will be established to subsidize premiums for low-income citizens and finance treatment for chronic diseases.
The fund will be resourced through levies imposed on items such as carbonated drinks, alcoholic beverages, and electronic transactions.
The bill stipulates the removal of exemptions previously granted in health care, compelling every Tanzanian to enroll in a health insurance scheme.
Employers are now required to register their employees for health insurance within 30 days of employment commencement.
The bill’s passage is the culmination of a legislative journey that began with its introduction and subsequent debates on funding and implementation strategies.
Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu has been at the forefront, advocating for the bill and ensuring the incorporation of stakeholder feedback into the final draft.
Following the passing of the bill, she commented on her Twitter (X) account: “Thanks to all who contributed to the success of this great and important thing in the lives of many Tanzanians! Now we start the implementation process.”
The bill’s implementation is scheduled to commence on July 1, 2024, following the expected presidential assent and publication in the Government Gazette.
This legislative milestone aligns with Tanzania’s commitment to the World Health Organization’s Universal Health Coverage goals.
The passing of the bill is seen as a decisive move to bolster Tanzania’s healthcare system and ensure equitable access to health services for its population.