In the past, if a family member needed healthcare, Theresia John Kombe of Pangara, Tanzania, had to sell one of her chickens to pay for it. But as a coffee grower with the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU), Theresia was able to join a MicroEnsure health plan that is connected to a network of clinics. Now, she pays an $8 annual premium that covers her whole family.That insurance coverage was vital one night when her baby, Loreen, was vomiting and had to be taken to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with malaria. Theresia was so happy that Loreen was able to get immediate care without a fee.
In honor of the U.S.’s Child Health Day today, we’re highlighting Theresia’s story and the importance of improving the health and well-being of children here and around the world.
Theresia says that one of the best aspects of having health insurance is that her family can plan for health needs a year in advance. It used to be that they would have to immediately try to sell a chicken, sometimes for less than it’s worth, to have money to go to a clinic or hospital. This is the case for many rural and farming families, especially between harvests when they don’t have much money available. Now, clients like Theresia who have insurance can get their children to health facilities when they need to go, ensuring that they’ll be treated as soon as they have symptoms of an illness, rather than having to wait until they can afford to go. For the adults in the family, this reduces the risk that they will miss workdays and extra income.
MicroEnsure works with medical staff at the local Uuwo Dispensary in Pangara on their bedside manner, explaining the way to approach, talk to, diagnose and treat patients. KNCU Health Plan providers are taught that making physical contact with patients during evaluation and treatment goes a long way towards demonstrating that they care, rather than just prescribing tests and drugs with only a cursory discussion. Theresia said she feels MicroEnsure’s plan is focused on the women and mothers of KNCU as they are the ones that deal with all health issues in the family. She says the women of her cooperative are all extremely grateful for the program.
Opportunity’s MicroEnsure is the world’s first and largest microinsurance broker, and offers a variety of insurance products, including innovative crop, loan, health, life and property insurance to provide a safety net for millions. Customized policies strengthen communities by mitigating regional risks like drought, HIV, or lack of access to adequate healthcare.