Health ministry engages partners about diseases inclusion under health insurance package

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The Ministry of Health held two days stakeholder and experts consultative meeting to evaluate the intervention prioritization and the development of the health benefits package for The Gambia National Health Insurance.

The meeting was aimed at soliciting stakeholder input into the parameter estimates and assumptions made in the analysis of interventions included in the Essential Health Care Package (EHCP), and to conduct preliminary prioritization of health interventions according to broad disease categories.

Doctor Mustapha Bittaye, director of health service, who doubles as the chairperson of the oversight committee, said the selection of the intervention for the development of the health insurance package is necessary to meet up with the available resources.

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“It is important to know which diseases to consider as part of the insurance package for the start. Analysis has already been done and it is being presented to the people and the group will now select which diseases to prioritize,” he said.

Dr. Bittaye stated that the disease prioritization is of utmost importance to the Gambian people as it is geared towards improving positive health outcomes. He added that this development is a key milestone which is in line with the health financing policy and strategy aimed at introducing an innovative and sustainable health financing mechanism that will mitigate financial burden of health care on individuals and families.

“The MoH requested for about a billion dalasi from the National Assembly to cover for the health insurance. It is also in the act as to how much money to get from other taxes like the bridge and tobacco tax,” he said.

He said the ministry is moving closer to the realization of a national health scheme in the Gambia which is a long term vision of the ministry in making progress toward universal health coverage.

As part of the ministry’s efforts to make the development of the nation’s health insurance effective, Dr. Buba Manjang, director of public health services, said although all diseases are to be considered, there is a need to prioritize due to budget constraints.