The proposed National
Health Insurance scheme has generated mixed from members of the public in
The National Health Insurance Scheme Bill 2019 has an ultimate goal of
introducing Universal Health Care to improve health outcomes and expand access
to essential health care services for all people in need.
If passed, the Health Insurance scheme will pool
resources where the rich and the healthy will subsidize the treatment for the
poor, young and elderly.
On Wednesday, members of the public in Mbale district
got a chance to comment on the scheme in a debate jointly organised by National
Democratic Institute and Uganda Radio Network at Busitema University, Mbale
Rogers Wandulu, one of
the participants from Sironko district, said there is need for government to
first improve the health sector before thinking about introducing Health
He explained that Uganda’s
health sector is still lagging behind, adding that many Ugandans are too poor
to raise the money needed for the scheme.
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Julius Nteziyazemye, a lecturer at Busitema
University wondered who will manage the health insurance scheme funds, saying
there is need for government to first tackle corruption to restore public trust
in the proposed scheme.
Dr. Saidat Nakito, the
Dean faculty of Law at Islamic University in Uganda, said National Health
Insurance Scheme Bill 2019 is unfair and has disparities, arguing that many
people especially those informal sector will avoid making contributions.
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Swaibu Okoth, another participant said if the
scheme is to work, government ought to strengthen institutions and improve
health service delivery in the country.
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Dr. Ian Clark, one of the panelists during the
debate, said the policy is intended to introduce result based financing in the
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Alice Alaso, the Deputy National Coordinator
Alliance for National Transformation –ANC party, said the scheme is bound to
fail with because of corruption officials in government.
wondered the level of preparedness in government for the launch of the National
Health Insurance Scheme.
Alaso also noted that the issue of the rich subsidizing the
treatment of the poor isn’t realistic because the rich in Uganda are known for
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However, Dr. Benon Wenume, the Head of
Department Community and Public Health - Faculty of Health sciences Busitema
University Mbale Campus, said Ugandans should stop saying they are poor to
start certain things.
He said there is need to start on the scheme and keep improving
amidst the challenges that may arise.
Dr. Ahmed Bumba, the Director Mbale Regional
Blood Bank, said the health insurance policy is good and timely but there is
need for ensuring public trust and accountability.
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Health insurance services have been proposed as one of the
strategies to protect the insured client from out-of-pocket payments that
continue to hinder millions of people from accessing healthcare services.
Out-of-pocket payments not only hinder access to healthcare but also
cause financial catastrophe to some families and individuals as they strive to
access the much needed healthcare.
Despite the potential benefits and the
availability of health insurance services in Uganda, the uptake of the services
is still limited, particularly in the informal sector that compromises the
biggest part of the population.