26,000 Embrace Community Health Insurance In Greater Luweero Top story

3061 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
Ronald Kamya, a member of Wesige Mukama Bamugolodde Health Scheme, says the scheme is affordable compared to general insurance services. Kamya says he pays Shillings 72,000 for all his family members and co-payment of Shillings 30,000 whenever any of them falls sick.

More than 26,000 people in Greater Luweero have enrolled on the Community Health Insurance Scheme despite the delayed enactment of the National Health Insurance bill. The Community Health Insurance Scheme was introduced by Save for Health Uganda, a non-government organization to help poor people to access quality health care and protect families against  incurring catastrophic medical expenses.
Fredrick Makaire, the Executive Director Save for Health Uganda, says about 26,000 people in Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola districts have enrolled on the scheme since it was introduced in 2000. Each member pays between Shillings 12,000-85,000 as premium and gets an insurance cover of up to Shillings 400,000.

Those enrolled on the scheme pay their premium through Community Health Schemes at their parish level, which are under the supervision of Save for Health Uganda. Makaire says members have overcome irrational health seeking behaviors and escaping from health facilities due to failure to clear medical bills. 
He however, notes that the number of people on the scheme is still low compared to the population in Greater Luweero because some people are still skeptical about insurance.

// Cue in: "Because Luweero…
Cue out:…this scheme"//

According to Makaire, due to the delayed tabling of the health Insurance bill, they don't have a clear policy guideline for the scheme and are registered as a Community Based Organization. Luweero District has passed a Community Health Insurance Scheme ordinance to provide legal backing for the scheme.
The ordinance is currently being scrutnised by the office of the Attorney General. Harriet Mbaziira, a resident of Kakooge town council is one of the subscribers to the Community Health Insurance Scheme. Mbaziira says she has cut down her medical expenses since she joined the scheme and diverted the resources to educate her children.

 Teddy Bukenya, a subscriber in Kakinzi Nezikokolima Health Insurance Scheme, says prior to the scheme she would sale her animals to cater for medical expenses, which had plunged her family into chronic poverty.

Ronald Kamya, a member of Wesige Mukama Bamugolodde Health Scheme, says the scheme is affordable compared to general insurance services. Kamya says he pays Shillings 72,000 for all his family members and Shillings 30,000 as co-payment  whenever any of them falls sick.
//Cue in: "Ekirungi kyenfunyeyo…
Cue out;…baana bange"//

Subscribers to the scheme access health services from 12 health facilities under the Community Health scheme. They include among others Bishop Ceaser Asili, Kiwoko and Nakaseke Hospital. In December, 2012, government drafted the National Health Insurance bill seeking to establish the National health scheme to facilitate provision of affordable, acceptable and quality health care service to Ugandans.

The bill also sought to formulate and implement guidelines, accredit, supervise, monitor and regulate health care providers and manage health schemes. On 5th April, 2017 Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury issued a certificate of financial implication to the Health Ministry paving way for its tabling before Parliament for consideration.
 Despite this, the bill has never been considered. According to the 2018 finding by Twaweza; one in fifty citizens (2%) have health or medical insurance in Uganda meaning 98 percent are not covered.


About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.