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Regional health bureau mandated to manage emergency medical services such as those resulting from car accidents have been accused of poor financial management. Of the 6.4 million birr the Insurance Fund Administration Agency (IFAA) provided to all regional bureaus, only 200,000 birr has been used in the provision of emergency medical services.
Most regional bureaus do not have not designated offices for managing third party medical services, according to IFFA. The third party insurance was implemented following the ratification of the September 2011 proclamation that allows people to receive emergency medical care up to 2000 birr – from health facilities party to the scheme – following car accidents.
Zewdu Wondem, Public Relations Head of the Agency blames the Ministry of Health for poor monitoring and oversight of the regional’s health bureaus in third parties insurance management and the lack of good emergency medical services.
“The main reason we launched the third party insurance five years ago is because we were concerning about the fatal and near fatal car accidents and the people involved. We agreed with the Ministry of Health to make sure any injured person can receive immediate medical care at the nearest hospital or clinic after a car accident.”
The service provided to patients involved in car accidents is supposed to be free, but IFFA report that patients were being charged for emergency services.
“Victims are paying money from their pockets to receive emergency medical care, drivers are not aware about it and sadly most of the health bureaus do not audit and use the third party insurance money.”
He added that the Health Minister should ensure health bureaus establish a responsible office to manage the medical emergency services provided to car accident victims.
“There are health bureaus like Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region and Tigray who are doing well in establishing offices and managing the third parties insurance properly. Expanding good practice in all regions is the Ministry of Health’s work.”
The Ministry of Health accept the criticism and have indicated that they will be doing more such as hiring more professional to better manage the work and improve performance.
Currently, motor vehicles (motorcycles, automobiles, trucks and buses) pay yearly premiums between 150 and 3,000 birr to insurance companies. In the past five months, about 170,000 vehicles acquired or renewed their third party insurance. However, over 400,000 on roads are still without this compulsory and potentially life saving insurance.