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PhilHealth Hosts Tanzanian Study Visit October 24, 2012

THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is currently hosting a five-day study visit of senior officials from the United Republic of Tanzania from October 22 to 26 who have expressed interest to learn from the experiences of the Philippines insofar as implementing social health insurance is concerned.

The seven-man delegation is headed by Dr. Faustine E. Ndungulile, Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and consists of Pauline Philipo Gekul, a member of Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and top officials from the Tanzanian National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) which include Emmanuel B. D. Humba, Director General, Ally K. Kiwenge, Vice Chairman, Prof. Joseph K. Shija, Member of NHIF Board of Directors, Dr. Aifena Basil Mramba, Claim Administration Manager, and Atty. Christina J. Ilumba, Manager for Legal Services.

The five-day visit will also enable them to know the various strategies adopted in extending health insurance coverage to the whole population, legal and policy frameworks, health financing services, among others.

To meet these learning objectives, the PhilHealth Social Health Insurance Academy (SHIA) headed by Senior Manager Chona Sienes-Yap has lined-up a series of lectures capped with site visits in the cities of Tarlac, Angeles , Mexico , and San Fernando in Pampanga for them to better understand the concept, implementation as well as outcomes of social health insurance in the Philippines.

In his welcome address, PhilHealth President and CEO Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon briefly explained PhilHealth's humble beginnings from the creation of the Medicare Program in 1969, the challenges and problems encountered during the more than two decades of its implementation, and the creation of the National Health Insurance Program in 1995. Banzon emphasized that the single-fund system being used in the Philippines remains the best of options.

For their part, Dr. Mramba presented that the concept of social health insurance is not something new to Tanzania as they already had their NHIF in 1998. She said that with Tanzania 's population of 44 million with an average life expectancy of 52 years and maternal mortality rate of 454 per 100 thousand live births, the big challenge for them remains in terms of making the NHIF more meaningful to the whole Tanzanian populace. (END)

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