Former First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba says people need to embrace and support the proposed National Health Insurance Bill.
Dr Kaseba who is also a respected Physician, Surgeon and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist said the Bill once enacted into law would help improve the provision of health services in Zambia.
Dr Kaseba however observed that there is need for more sensitisation on the contents to help public understand its benefits and what it and what the Bill entails.
She said in an interview in Lusaka that the Bill is a welcome development and that the public should not criticise it.
“If you go to health facilities most of them are charging and even in public hospitals, some services are paid for and it is not always that you will have money when you fall sick because maybe you are paying for other responsibilities.
If you are able to pay a little something for your health, that should give you more peace,” Dr Kaseba said.
She added, “It’s just that maybe it was sudden and many people were not consulted and maybe that is why they are opposing it.”
Dr Kaseba’s position is however a major departure from her late husband Michael Sata’s principles who championed for free access to medical services.
Mr Sata’s first major reforms upon taking over office in 2011 was to abolish medical user fees for all arguing that everyone has a right to medical services including the poor.
President Sata’s move was in line with the PF manifesto on Health Services financing in which the party pledged to double budgetary allocation in order to provide universal care ad abolish user fees and health care will be “based on need” rather than the “ability to pay.