Expert Presents Case for Maintaining Healthcare User Fees

733 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Dr. Gitahi Githinji, the AMREF Africa CEO said instead of returning user fees in hospitals, stakeholders should consider other ways of collecting the user fees early on in order to guarantee that someone will get the healthcare they need once they fall sick.


Considering the fact that people still experience high out of pocket expenditure on healthcare to the highs of 40%, activists argue that user fees in hospitals should be returned to better health service delivery and curb corruption that's rampant in government hospitals under the guise of providing free care.

Moses Kirigwajjo, a health rights activist with the Uganda National Health Consumers Organisation says they are recently establishing that people pay when they seek services from both private or public facilities even as government in 2001 erased fees in a move to make healthcare available for all.

Kirigwajjo says that while the abolition of fees improved hospital attendance in the early days soon people started going back to private facilities.  For him the fact that patients are now being detained in hospitals for failure to pay medical bills shows that people are not finding anything at government facilities which are supposed to offer free care.

For him Ugandans will not get quality if they don't contribute to their treatment. But, a global advocate for health rights says this proposal is not viable and will just worsen the situation for some people will not be able to access healthcare at all.

Dr. Gitahi Githinji, the AMREF Africa Chief Executive Officer said instead of returning user fees in hospitals, stakeholders should consider other ways of collecting the user fees early on in order to guarantee that someone will get the healthcare they need once they fall sick.  

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Instead of erasing the fees, he says stakeholders should be looking at other ways of ensuring access to care.

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