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Session 21

Tanzania’s app-based health insurance
In today’s episode we will be discussing how mobile phones are changing our lives – for the better.

Beenyaa fayyaa Taanzaaniyaa appii (fayadama) irratti hudaa’eKutaa har’aa keessatti akkamiin bilbilli harkaa jireenya keenya akka jijjiiraa jiran(gara gaariitti) mari’aanna.

Session 21 score

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Tanzania’s app-based health insurance

Look at the Session Vocabulary – make sure you know what these words and phrases mean:

  • health insurance
  • healthcare
  • to be here to stay
  • at their fingertips


How much of the world’s population will be a mobile phone user or subscriber by 2020?

a. nearly 30%
b. nearly 50%
c. nearly 70%

Listen to the discussion and find out the answer.

Listen to find the answers. Then check them on the transcript below.

Show transcript Hide transcript

Yooyyaa! Gara English Together kan mata duree tibbanaa irratti mari’annuu fi qooqa dubbachuun si barbaachisan si qoodnutti baga nagana dhufte. Ani Caaliidha, akkasumas Toomiifi Fiilii naa waliin jiru.

Hi, I’m Tom. Welcome to the programme, everyone!

And I’m Phil. Hello!

Har’a waa’ee bilbilli harkaa/mobaayilli hagam jiruu keenyagara gaariitti jijjiira akka jiru dubbana. Yeroo moobaayilli jiruufi jireenya keenya guyyuu keessatti bakka olaanaa qabachaa dhufe kanatti - gaafii kana akka gaafannu nu godha - iinis bara 2020tti ummata addunyaa keessaa hangamtu ittifayyadamaa ykn maamila ‘subscriber’ moobaayilii ta’aa?
a. gara %30
b. gara %50
c. gara %70

Well, here in London, everyone is on their phone all the time! I say 100%!

Yes, but our quiz is about the whole world’s population, Phil, not just that in London.

Think about it, and we’ll give you the answer later in the programme. Amma waa’ee aappii/fayyadama moobaayila Taanzaaniyaa keessatti namoonni beenyaa/inshuraansii fayyaa ‘health insurance’ akkasumas kunuunsa fayyaa ‘healthcare’ argachuu irratti daran fayyada jiru fi kanaan dura namoota hedduuf dadhabame irratti xiyyeeffachuun gabaasa BBC Afriikaa bizinas dhiheesse kana haa caqasnu.

News insert
For millions of Tanzanians who live on low incomes, health insurance is a luxury they simply cannot afford. But, technology is beginning to change the landscape. Two years ago, mobile phone subscribers here in Tanzania rose by 25%. Now, technology analysts are convinced that mobile phones could indeed be key in changing people’s lives in many aspects. With only a basic feature phone, a customer can register for a policy and make payments for premium as low as a dollar a month.


You see, Tom? It’s not just London. Mobile phone subscribers in Tanzania rose by 25% two years ago!

Yep, you’re right, that is a huge increase. But what was more interesting to me in the story is the positive impact that mobile phones are having.

‘To have a positive impact’ jechuun dhiibbaa gaarii qabaachuudha. Faallaan isaa ‘to have a negative impact’ dhiibbaa gaarii hintaane qabaachuu. Yes, some good news about mobile phones!

And, it’s nice to hear that mobile phones are actually having a positive impact on people’s health. Often, we just hear the opposite.

We often hear the opposite because it’s true! Mobile phones are having a negative impact on our health, on our relationship with others… They’re often bringing about social change in negative ways.

‘To bring about social change’ jechuun jijjiirama hawaasummaa fiduudha.

But don’t you think giving people access to healthcare is an example of how mobiles phones are bringing about social change in a positive way?

Before you answer Phil, let’s go back to our quiz question from earlier: bara 2020tti ummata addunyaa keessaa hangamtu ittifayyadamaa bilbila moobaayilaa ta’a?
a. gara %30
b. gara %50
c. gara %70
Akka tilmaamota/raaga addaddaa marsariitii statista.com irratti bahaniitti, deebiin(c)dha, gara 70%.
So, mobiles phones are here to stay kan turuuf deemaniidha.

Clearly! And, yes, of course I agree that access to healthcare should be a basic right…

‘A basic right’ mirga bu’uraati. Everyone should be granted the right to access basic health care services irrespective of their age, ethnicity and geographical location.

But, even though I agree that being able to see the doctor when you’re ill should be a basic right, it’s also a luxury that many people can’t afford.

Very true. ‘A luxury that people can’t afford’ is qananii namoonni hindandeenye.

Absolutely! Which is why I like this story so much. Now, it seems seeing a doctor doesn’t have to be a luxury that people can’t afford.

Because it’s literally at their fingertips, you mean?

Exactly! Phil, did we just agree on something?

I think we did, yes.


Torban kanaaf nagaa utuu sitti hindhaamiin dura, jechoota har’a irratti dubbachaa ture haa’ilaallu – hundisaanii wa’ee dhimmoota hawaasaati: ‘to have a positive impact’, dhiibbaa gaarii qabaachuu, ‘to bring about social change’ jijjiirama hawaasummaa fiduu, ‘a basic right’ mirga bu’uraa, ‘a luxury people cannot afford’, qananii namoonni hindandeenye.
Turtii waliin qabaanneef galatoomi, barnoota dabalataa English Togethern torban ittaanu walitti deebina.

Meaning & Use

to have a positive impact (verb phrase)

An impact, in this context, means 'an effect or influence', usually of some importance. Therefore, if something or someone has a positive impact, they 'influence or affect a situation or a person in a good way'. This verb phrase is usually followed by the preposition 'on'.
Susan has had a very positive impact on the team since she joined. She's had lots of good ideas and made some important improvements.
The increased investment in the company had a positive impact on its profits.

It is also possible for something to have a negative impact, so they 'influence or affect a situation or a person in a bad way'.
Smoking can have a very negative impact on your health.

to bring about social change (verb phrase)

To bring about is a phrasal verb which means 'to cause something to happen'. Social change is when something in society changes or becomes different.
The new president was elected because he promised to bring about social change.
When women were given the right to vote, it brought about a huge social change.

a basic right (noun phrase)

Basic is an adjective meaning 'common, required or fundamental'. A right is a countable noun meaning 'a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something'. It is often used with adjectives 'human' and 'legal', as well as basic
Access to clean water is a basic human right that everyone should have.
Do you think free education is a basic right?

a luxury people can't afford (expression)

A luxury is 'something expensive that you enjoy but do not really need'. If you can't afford something, it means you don't have enough money to buy it. Therefore, the expression a luxury someone can't afford refers to something that is not possible under the current circumstances. It can also be about things that are difficult to obtain at the moment, not just about money.
During the drought, people had to cut down on the amount of water they used. Long showers and watering the garden were luxuries they couldn't afford.
I'm so busy studying for my exams, taking time off to see friends and go to the cinema is a luxury I simply can't afford at the moment!

Tanzania’s app-based health insurance

4 Questions

Choose the correct answer.
Deebii sirrii ta’e fili.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Over to you!

Do you think healthcare should be 'a basic right'? Can you see other ways in which mobile phones have 'had a positive impact' on our lives? Tell us on our Facebook group.

Join us for our next episode of English Together when we will learn more useful language and practise your listening skills.
Turtii waliin qabaanneef galatoomi, barnoota dabalataa English Together torban ittaanu walitti deebina.

Session Vocabulary

  • to have a positive impact
    dhiibbaa gaarii qabaachuu

    to bring about social change
    jijjiirama hawaasaa fiduu

    a basic right
    mirga bu’uraa

    a luxury people can’t afford
    qananii namoonni hindandeenye

    a subscriber
    maamila tajaajilaa

    health insurance
    beenyaa fayyaa

    kunuunsa fayyaa

    to be here to stay
    turuuf/bubbuluuf as jira

    at their fingertips
    sirriitti waa tokko beekuu (akka waan fiixee qubasaaniirra jiruu tokkootti beekuu)