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Published: 2022-06-10

Thesis about health insurance for rural elderly in Tanzania

NEWS While on one hand health insurance increases access and utilization of healthcare services among the rural elderly, on the other, the uninsured elderly reported better responsiveness of the health system. This is shown in a new doctoral thesis.

Text: Ola NIlsson

Paul Amani’s doctoral thesis is focused on investigating the extent to which health insurance can contribute to improve access and the responsiveness of healthcare system to the rural elderly in Tanzania. Almost half, 45 per cent,  of the elderly who participated in this study possessed health insurance.

Possession of health insurance seemed to increase access to and use of healthcare services by the insured elderly. However, the results also suggested a lower responsiveness of the healthcare among the insured population.

These findings not only contribute to the body of knowledge on heslth insurance and its existence in Tanzania, but more importantly it is the first known study to focus on the elderly population. Based on these findings, it is thus important for the responsible authorities (insurance schemes and the Ministry of Health) to increase efforts to boost insurance coverage to underprivileged population in order to increase equitable access to healthcare services.

Since majority of rural population rely on services at the primary healthcare level, further investment and expansion of the services should be prioritized. Specific actions to improve the dimensions of prompt attention, quality of basic amenities and communication at all care levels in order to improve responsiveness.

The research wes conducted between 2017 and 2018 in two rural districts-Igunga and Nzega in Tanzania. Mixed methods- household survey (with elderly), interviews (healthcare providers) and focus group discussions (elderly) men and women was used to collect the data.

Paul Joseph Amani, was born and raised up in the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He works as a teacher at Department of Health Systems Management of Mzumbe University in Tanzania. He holds Advanced Diploma in Health Administration from Mzumbe University and a master degrees in Public Policy and Management from Agder University in Norway and Meiji University in Japan.


About the defence of the doctoral thesis

Paul Joseph Amani, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, defends his doctoral thesis Does health insurance contribute to improvning responsiveness of the health system? The case of elderly in rural Tanzania. Opponent John Porter, Professor London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. University of London, United Kingdom. Principal supervisor Miguel San Sebastián.