Despite it being a well-known tourist destination, the Zanzibar archipelago deals with challenges typical to those of other developing countries, including a chronically underfunded health sector. In 2020, PharmAccess signed a 5-years’ partnership agreement with the Ministry of Health of the Government of Zanzibar to make universal health coverage (UHC) viable and sustainable. The lunch meeting on the 2nd of December 2021 intended to inform the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar about initiatives to accelerate achievement of UHC and strengthen and build new partnerships around health financing.
The Guest of Honour, Hon. Nassor Ahmed Mazrui, Minister for Health lauded PharmAccess support to the Ministry to establish health insurance in Zanzibar, and to improve quality of care. “This organization [PharmAccess] has done a tremendous job to ensure quality health care in Zanzibar, with their support we have developed the national quality improvement guideline which is now used by the ministry of Health”, said the Minister. He urged other public officials and offices to use the support from similar organizations for the benefit of the people of Zanzibar. Moreover, the minister advised the community to take advantage and enrol into the upcoming health scheme as it will improve the quality and affordability of health care services on the islands: “If every person [in Zanzibar] will have their insurance scheme card, they will access quality health care services from lower levels facilities to hospitals. This will help them and their families.”
In his key-note speech, PharmAccess Country Director Dr. Heri Marwa advocated for the need to have well-planned health financing strategies to avoid people falling into poverty by accessing care. ”Careful strategies are needed to ensure that we do not leave behind the most vulnerable groups”. Dr. Marwa also advised the government to increase healthcare spending, to deploy controlled subsidy mechanisms so that only the deserving receive, invest in public-private partnerships and to increase community awareness on health.
The lunch event was attended by over sixty high level officials from various ministries in Zanzibar; representatives from public offices on the mainland; representatives from the WHO and USAID; diplomats from the Swiss and Canadian embassies in Dar es Salaam and implementing partner organizations working in the health sector in Zanzibar.
The event has been recorded – click here. Part of the event is spoken in Swahili.