The National Health Insurance Bill, 2019 is currently before Parliament but recent media reports indicated that government was considering withdrawing it following disagreements between various stakeholders including the private sector, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and different insurance regulatory authorities.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Rosa
Malango has called for the immediate enactment of the National Health Insurance
Bill, 2019 by the 10th Parliament saying that this will help empower
Uganda’s women more.
Malango was this afternoon speaking at an event in
State House, Entebbe commemorating the International Women’s Day 2021. The day’s
event presided over by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was commemorated under the
theme; Building on Women’s Strength for a Better Future in the Covid-19 World.
“We call on the 10th Parliament to prioritize
into law some of the pending Bills including the National Health Insurance
Bill, Pensions Bill, Minimum Wage Bill and Legal Aid Bill,” said Malango.
Her call came shortly after a demand by the Faridah
Kimbowa, the Chairperson of the National Women’s Council who said that Health
Insurance Scheme should be considered to enable Ugandans access specialized treatment
at a minimal cost.
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The National Health Insurance Bill, 2019 is
currently before Parliament. But recent reports indicate that government
was considering withdrawing it following disagreements between various
stakeholders including the private sector, National Social Security Fund (NSSF)
and different insurance regulatory authorities.
Last month, Dr. Moriku Kaducu, the Minister of State
for Health (Primary Health Care) said that following a meeting with the
President and other stakeholders, it was established that there were
disagreements on contribution and benefits of the Bill, which are core
objectives of the scheme.
According to the Bill, all Ugandans above 18 years
will be required to contribute to the scheme before accessing health services
across the country. It also proposes a 4% deduction on salaries of employees in
the formal sector while their employers will contribute 1% to the health
scheme. Individuals in the informal sector are proposed to pay 100, 000
Meanwhile, Malango described the women’s day
commemoration as an opportunity to reflect on the progress in regard to recognizing
and promoting women leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the role
in addressing its social economic impact.
“The 1995 Constitution under Article 33 provides for
the protection of women and their rights. The advancement of women’s rights
also relies on gender responsive policies such as the Employment Act No.6, the
Uganda Gender Policy and the National Policy on Elimination of Gender Based
Violence. We must work together to increase awareness and support implementation,”
Malango noted that this is the first commemoration
of Women’s Day since the COVID-19 pandemic which she said exacerbated gender
inequalities and increased violence in homes. She said that there is need for a
concerted effort to improve the social economic status of women and girls by
eliminating all forms of violence and harmful practices including child
marriages and Female Genital Mutilation –FGM.
She says that this is necessary if women are to
continue participating in Uganda’s governance, development and democratic
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Malango also called for a change in perceptions by
communities and transformation of social norms, behavior and gender stereo
types that perpetuate discrimination, violence and inequality.
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According to a Uganda Police Report, a total of
16,242 cases of Gender Based Violence-GBV were reported between January and
June 2020 and National Women Council’s Faridah Kimbowa says that the figures
have proven that GBV is a threat to humanity especially women and girls.
“It is our humble request to the President that the
government considers increasing funding toward Gender Based Violence prevention
and response at all levels,” she appealed.
Speaking about government’s social economic
empowerment initiatives of women, Kimbowa also appealed for increased funding
for the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program – UWEP to enable them recapitalize
struggling businesses for women.
“Women report to have been hit hard by Covid-19 in
their enterprises, they are closing businesses after losing their capital,” she
According to Kimbowa, out of the 585 billion
Shillings expected in UWEP from 2015 to 2020, only 107 billion translating in
18.3 percent was released by government.
UWEP is an initiative of the Government of Uganda
that is aimed at improving access to financial services for women and equipping
them with skills for enterprise growth, value addition and marketing of their
products and services.