MALAWI’S FIRST ISLAMIC MEDICAL SCHEME INITIATED

Photo: On Islam
Photo: On Islam

Lilongwe, 12 Rajab 1436/1 May 2015 (MINA) – In an attempt to contain growing effects of poor economic conditions in Malawi, an Islamic medical insurance has been initiated to provide easy access to quality and advanced medical services to economically disadvantaged citizenry in the impoverished southern African nation.

“Most Malawians are unable to access medical services being offered by the existing medical schemes because they are profit-oriented,” Adil Chilungo, Executive Director of Blantyre Cooperative Medical Insurance told On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

“They have taken advantage of the current economic situation to get maximum profits. We have therefore come in to provide relief to low – income earners.”

“Our medical insurance is tailored to cater for the needs of all Malawians irrespective of their earning power. Under the current economic situation, the medical needs of the majority of Malawians are quite overwhelming. It is for this reason that our services have generated massive interest across the country,” Chilungo added.

“People are very hungry for what we are offering, because it is within their means. With little money, they can ably access quality medical services which they can’t access through the other existing medical schemes.”

Chilungo said although the scheme is Islamic, all Malawians across the religious spectrum were being cared for.

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“We have gone beyond the boundaries of religion to provide quality medical services to the people of Malawi. All Malawians regardless of their religious affiliations have taken advantage of this medical insurance. Besides providing medical care, we are also indirectly at the same time, enhancing unity among diverse religions in the country,” said Chilungo.

He noted that the new scheme was suggested due to the current economic conditions the country was passing through, which made the majority of people unable to access quality medical services.

Therefore, he said the Islamic medical insurance was providing relief to the “struggling majority”.

“Because we are not profit-oriented, our fees are quite affordable. We are there to provide relief to humanity at a time when the country’s economy is almost down. We are providing hope to the struggling majority that despite the poor economic situation, they can access advanced medical services.

“Our services are quite unique because people of diverse social statuses are able to access medical services equally without any form of discrimination based on their economic strength.”

According to Chilungo, beneficiaries of the scheme make minimal contributions according to their earning abilities.

Worsening Situation

The country’s economy has been struggling over the years leading to acute shortage of essential medical supplies in public hospitals which provide free medical services to the country’s majority poor.

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“This situation has hit the poor a great deal. This medical insurance therefore has been initiated to bail out the majority of Malawians who are poor. These are people who can’t afford quality medical services in private hospitals on their own because they charge exorbitant fees,” said Chilungo.

Meanwhile, a cross section of the Malawi community has praised the initiative describing it as “hope fore the poor.”

“This is the only hope for the poor to survive during this time when our economy has failed us. Through this scheme, we are able to access quality medical services which we couldn’t dream of before. Without this scheme, chances of us surviving amidst this situation were very slim,” Peter Chaona, a beneficiary of the scheme told OnIslam.net.

“I therefore appeal to fellow Malawians who are conscious about their health to become members of this scheme. Life in our country has become unbearable, it is therefore of paramount importance to prioritize issues to do with health,” he said.

While concurring with Chaona, National Chairperson of Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) Alhaj Mohammed Idrissa commended the scheme saying it was within what “Islam stands for”.

“This scheme is quite commendable. It’s within the values of Islam. Islam doesn’t advocate profits on issues which concern humanity like health. This scheme is strictly there to help the poor who are struggling to access advanced health services at this time,” said Idrissa.

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“My appeal to other existing medical schemes is that they should try to minimize their profit margins so that people with little earning power can also access their services. The majority of Malawians are very poor to ably access medical services at very exorbitant prices. It should be our desire to provide quality medical care to all people regardless of how much they earn.”

Since its inception last year, according to Chilungo, the medical insurance, the first of its kind in the country gas attracted huge membership across the Malawi society.

“We are attracting huge membership that no any other medical insurance has done before in this country. This clearly shows how much interest and trust people have towards this facility. We are committed to provide the best to Malawians at a minimal cost.”

Officially, Malawi is a secular nation, but with diverse religions. Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity. Muslims account for 36 per cent of the country’s 16 million population. (T/P006/R03)

 

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)