By: Kebba AF Touray
The Minister of Finance Mambury Njie, has disclosed that Government will introduce the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 2020. Njie said this on Friday December 6th during his budget presentation before deputies at the National Assembly.
He stressed that the initiative will be rolled out to the public in January 2020 to enable the most-hard working people and their families access the needed medical attention when they fall sick.
The NHIS Bill which has been drafted and has undergone rigorous technical review by different stakeholders including development partners, will serve as governing organ for the scheme when the Bill is enacted.
“The authority will further establish regional offices across the country to ensure easy access to the services. NHIS Membership Cards will be prepared by the authority to enroll beneficiaries into the scheme and will target both poor and vulnerable members of society,” the Minister said; that to make the scheme amenable to the needy, it will pay for children under five years of age; persons in need of ante-natal, delivery and post-natal services; persons living with mental illnesses and differently abled persons and pensioners, and the poor.
“Additionally, Government remains resolute in the provision of free immunization services to all children in the Gambia and has contributed D32 million towards the services. Currently, the Extended Program on Immunization (EPI) is vaccinating against twelve diseases such as Hepatitis B, Measles and Yellow Fever, among others,” he said; that efforts to revitalize and implement the concept of Primary Health Care (PHC), the Ministry has established a unit that coordinates and monitors all primary healthcare services in the country; that currently, PHC outreach to villages has increased from 634 to 722.
Minister Njie stated that the Health and Agriculture Ministries are implementing a Maternal and Child Nutrition and Health Results Project (MCNHRP), in order to improve nutrition in maternal and child health.
He averred that the Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) has been expanded to 91 communities and the project has supported 2,400 vulnerable households to build their resilience against food insecurity with accompaniment of cash transfers for a period of twelve months.
“The National Farmers’ Association’s (NAFA) Cash Project is an unconditional cash transfer scheme that will be implemented over a period of three years. The project seeks to reach a target population of 15,600 extreme poor households who will be selected by using a Proxi-Means Test (PMT) and community validation in the poorest twenty districts of the Gambia,” Finance Minister Njie concludes.