Tanzanian elders raise alarm over failed Free-Medical Services

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Representatives of the elderly population have raised alarm to Tanzanians that the policy of providing free medical services to elders has backfired.

Speaking with the committee member of Tanzania Pensioners Union, Mr Willy Mbunga said that most of the elders and pensioners are facing a hard time to get health services despite the frequent announcements by policy makers that the government is implementing a policy of free medical services for the elderly.

“I am the one of the victims, because I have failed to get free medical check-up from the government hospitals on the grounds that the government is yet to budget for such programme,” said Mr Mbunga who is a veteran journalist.

He said the Pensioners Unions stirred debate through the ITV programme on “Malumbano ya Hoja” raising complaints against poor implementation of the policy on free medical services to elders.

According to him, the window for the elders to get free medical services in almost all government hospitals are inactive as most of health administrators are complaining they do not have funds to cover for free medical treatment for the elderly.

Recently the minister responsible for Regional Administration and Local Governments, Mr Selemani Jafo issued a directive to all district commissioners to conduct census of the elderly for their respective districts so that the policy on free medical services is implemented smoothly.

Tanzania with a population of over 50 million constitutes over three percent of the elderly, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Hauwa Mustapha