Agency urges media to widely raise public awareness


The Ethiopian Health Insurance Agency has urged the media to broadly cover the significance of community-based health insurance to help all citizens aware of the system and get benefited from it.

Speaking at a two-day media professionals training about health insurance, Frehiwot Abebe, Ethiopian Health Insurance Agency Director General said that working in collaboration with the media would help raise public awareness at a larger scale about health insurance in general and that of community-based one in particular.

According to Frehiwot, the Agency started the scheme in 13 woredas of Tigray, Amhara, Oromiya and Southern Nations Nationalities States as a pilot project in 2003 and today some 743 woredas have started providing members and families with the insurance service; as a result, 32 million citizens living in these woredas nationwide have been encompassed under the framework.

“We have a plan to address all Ethiopians and get them beneficiary from the community-based health insurance in 2030 via payroll-based approach and other related aspects. The Agency has devised plausible mechanisms to this end,” she added.  

Following an increased public interest to join the insurance system, a proclamation was issued and believed to be endorsed within the shortest time possible.

According to Frehiwot, awareness raising activities have to be well intensified to make the source of the finance sustainable and the agency is working to expand community-based health insurance and raise public awareness to win societal confidence to expensively join as it is a mechanism to help the low income family in particular.  

“Investors, political elites, officials, and the community at large have to participate well as sense of belongingness has been witnessed fruitful; if we raise public awareness, we can make a difference,” she added.  

The agency has been undertaking a multitude of activities to expand the program in 827 woredas to make 9 to 10 million households incorporating over 45 million citizens beneficiary this year, 2013 E.C.

Senior Communication expert with the Agency, Eyob Gelaye, on his part said that as health financing is a systematic collection, pooling of resources and purchasing of services involving mobilization of funds for health care, allocation of funds to the regions, it is a key factor of health system functions in terms of equity, efficiency and quality.                 

He also said that a premium fee is paid to an organization offering health insurance and this contract guarantees coverage for approved health services and premiums are usually paid on annual or monthly basis as well as individuals pay the premium regardless of whether or not they use the health insurance.

Assefa Yirgalem, Communication advisor also said that the media would play a paramount role in portraying the low level of health insurance in Ethiopia through print, broadcast or social media to help the issue receive proper attention.

The system is peculiarly, he said significantly useful in helping citizens who can’t afford to cover medical expenses but wish to cure and those who are suffering from dearth of resources due to unbearable medical costs, he added.

Ethiopian Health Insurance Agency