NMB, NHIF ink deal on health savings scheme

NMB Bank and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) have signed agreement to expand universal health coverage through a unique savings scheme in the market.

The deal to execute new arrangement, which trades as DUNDULIZA, was Thursday in the commercial city of Dar es Salaam by the two heads of the institutions at PSSSF Complex.

The DUNDULIZA small savings scheme is anticipated to play a pivot role in the provisioning of healthcare in the country and support the national endeavour for readily availability of affordable medical services.

At the official inking of deal , Ruth Zaipuna, NMB CEO and Bernard Konga, NHIF Director General pointed out that the innovative scheme will mostly be beneficial to ordinary Tanzanians.

They said the implementation of the service will be supported by NMB huge market outreach and the investments made by the two organisations in digital technologies.

Of utmost importance, they stated, is the pivotal role DUNDULIZA will play in supporting the government efforts to roll out universal health coverage.

“The main reason of signing this agreement is to support efforts being made by the government in its endeavour to reach its objective of universal health coverage to enable all Tanzanians especially the lower earners bracket notably farmers and small entrepreneurs to enjoy health insurance,” said NMb boss.

She added that by teaming up with them, NHIF will be able to reach and serve even people living in the remotest parts of the country through the bank’s extensive branch network and agents spread across the country.

According to her, currently NMB has 227 branches that are in all districts and in some wards as well as over 7,000 agents (NMB Wakala).

Commenting on DUNDULIZA, Zaipuna noted that the arrangement allows wananchi to make small savings through NMB Bank that eventually enables them to make health insurance contributions for themselves and their dependants. Through this arrangement, she explained, one is enabled to contribute to any of the NHIF health insurance packages, namely Najali Afya, Wekeza Afya and Timiza Afya, depending on one’s financial position.

She articulated that her bank decided to invest in the scheme and partner with NHIF to execute it due to their belief in the importance and relevance of healthy customers in banking business.

She explained that it makes a lot of commercial and common sense to access medical services through health insurance instead of savings in a customer’s account.

“DUNDULIZA is a first and a unique setup in Tanzania of which we are overjoyed to be part of and in making history by working together with the government through NHIF to enhance the availability of healthcare in the country. The scheme also consolidates the saving culture for our people.”

In a joint statement, NMB Bank and NHIF said the service primarily reduces a person’s burden to make lump sum payment for health insurance services. They also noted that apart from being costless, the new package offers contributors the opportunity to enjoy other banking services.

Konga, NHIF Director General said they came up with the DUNDULIZA idea after launching of the health insurance packages last November to cater for people outside the civil service.

Konga noted that this was after realising that the major challenge for many people was the issue of affordability.

“We therefore decided to sell the idea of partnering with financial institutions to better serve the people and we are grateful NMB Bank readily bought it and here we are,” said NHIF boss.

According to him, DUNDULIZA seeks to enable Tanzanians benefit from medical services by making health insurance affordable to the majority of them.

He said that through the small savings scheme, many people will eventually be able to get NHIF service cards for reliable medical services.

“Currently we have over 4.4 million members and it is our expectation that the DUNDULIZA scheme will greatly boost this number,” he added.