Hon. Neema Lugangira reflects on the recent UHC Act in Tanzania

A special Interview with Hon. Neema Lugangira, Member of Parliament from Kagera Constituency, Tanzania.

After years of push to achieve universal health coverage in Tanzania, President, H.E. Samia Suhulu Hassan on December 6, 2023, signed the Universal Health Insurance Bill into law. The Bill was passed by the Parliament of Tanzania on November 1, 2023, and subsequently referred to the President for her assent into law. The Tanzania Universal Health Insurance law ensures the protection of the right to health services to all Tanzanians without cost as an impediment.

UNITE Parliamentarians Network for Global Health took the opportunity of the passing of the Bill to congratulate the Parliament of Tanzania for their efforts and commitment to UHC. UNITE’s global network counts with over 30 MPs from Tanzania who are all committed to promoting universal health coverage and other health issues of global concern.

In an interview with UNITE Member Hon. Neema Lugangira, Member of Parliament from Kagera Constituency, she thanked her colleagues in the Parliament of Tanzania for their efforts and also expressed profound appreciation to the President, H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan for assenting to the Bill.

Reflecting on her own constituency, Hon. Neema Lugangira highlighted the challenges that people in poor and marginalized communities go through in accessing health care and thus consider it extremely important that parliamentarians champion health for all.

Across board, a key challenge that UNITE has identified and continues to assist with is in the provision of technical expertise and assistance to enhance legislative work on global health. This is in line with our strategic goal to become a global health policy lab for parliamentarians.

Hon Neema Lugangira, MP for Kagera Constituency:

“I was particularly concerned about how we were going to fund the UHC after the Bill passes. I thank the UNITE and UHC2030 teams for putting together case studies from different countries. Through the different knowledge I was able to gather, it empowered me and my colleagues to be able to draw on all the different moving blocks that were put together to now have a robust UHC law that clearly ensures that the Government will be able to fund UHC.”

Hon. Neema also praised UNITE’s partners, UHC2030 for their support:

“…UHC co-chair, Madam Gabriella was very supportive throughout the process and so I was able to get capacity building and empowerment on the issues of UHC as well as learnings and best practices from what other countries had done and what Tanzania could learn from them. I shared within the committee and we were able to truly shape the way in which the Government had to make reviews and improvements to the Bill.”

The Bill establishes an equity fund that will subsidize premium payments for low-income individuals while also mandating employers to register their employees for health insurance all in a bid to protect vulnerable citizens. Funding for the bill is also expected to be generated from taxes on fizzy drinks, alcohol, gambling among others. The implementation phase is expected to begin on July 1, 2024.

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