The National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) Director General, James Kapesa has called on Zambians both in the formal and informal sectors to register on the health insurance scheme to enjoy the benefits offered.
Mr Kapesa said the health scheme initiated by government has started bearing fruits as beneficiaries are witnessing its benefits.
Speaking during the tour of Chikuni health facility yesterday, Mr Kapesa said the rolling out of the scheme at accredited health facilities has drastically addressed the challenges of drug shortages.
He explained that NHIMA has complemented government’s efforts on the supply of drugs across the country through a number of interventions such as working with medical stores and affiliated health facilities.
Mr Kapesa disclosed that K60 million is available for procurement of drugs in all the health facilities accredited to the Authority as part of its drive to ensure high quality health care to all its members.
He said government is happy that most people in the formal sector are registered but however stated that the health scheme will only succeed if people in the informal sector are brought on board.
“ I want to say that am impressed with Chikuni Mission Hospital for implementing the NHIS to our beneficiaries but his scheme will only be realized if we register more people in the both the formal and informal sectors so that we can achieve the three million target in the next two to three years,” said Mr Kapesa.
“Although the scheme faced hitches when it is was first rolled out, it is encouraging that 820 beneficiaries are already registered and are now accessing high quality health services together with their families,” he said.
Dr Kapesa further said NHIMA will next year embark on a massive campaign to recruit as many Zambians between ages of 18 to 65 on the scheme for the people to fully appreciate its benefits.
Meanwhile, Chikuni Mission Hospital Acting Health Director, Kalume Mayombo said the facility received K105,000 from NHIMA as first allocation which was used to buy drugs, hospital equipment and linen.
Dr Mayombo said the funds have significantly helped to enhance health service delivery to beneficiaries on the scheme adding that more plans were in the pipeline for renovating high cost wards and other areas to further enhance health service delivery.
“You wish to know that we started registering beneficiaries of the health scheme in April this year and this is going on well except that we have few challenges such as old and dilapidated infrastructure, shortage of health staff currently at 70 percent among others which requires urgent attention for us to continue offering the best health services,” said Dr Mayombo.
And NHIMA Senior Public Relations Officer, Mutolo Mwamba said the Authority will actively engage the media to help in sensitizing the public and encourage them to register and enjoy the benefits.
“We want to embark on a serious sensitization drive by working with the media and also brand staff with t-shirts and other information education materials so that more people from both the formal and informal sectors can register. What people need to know is that this scheme, is meant for all Zambians not only those who are working in government,” she explained.