Cabinet sat on Monday June 24th 2019 at State House Entebbe, and; approved the National Health Insurance Scheme Bill, 2019.
Whereas it has taken over a decade since the bill was first mooted in Parliament, it is commendable that we as a country have reached a point where it finally turns to reality. A healthy population is vital if Uganda is to attain its development goals.
Ugandans need to look away from naysayers such as Dr Okwaru Obuku of Ugandan medical Association who lambasted the bill claiming that the National Resistance Movement was incapable of implementing a health insurance scheme due to unmentioned political reasons.
What such critics have failed to do though, is to give the arrangement an opportunity to be implemented and tested on the ground. With such a scheme nationals with the ability to pay for insurance will eable others incapable of working to access free and affordable healthcare services at government facilities.
According to Dr. Sarah Byakika, the following are the Objectives of the Bill:
To facilitate the provision of accessible, affordable acceptable and quality healthcare services to citizens irrespective of their age, economic, health and social status;
To develop health insurance as a complementary mechanism of healthcare financing and ensure efficiency in healthcare services;
To ensure that residents have access to quality healthcare services which is equitable and affordable;
To regulate the cost of healthcare services for the beneficiaries and ensure equitable distribution of costs among the different income groups;
To maintain high standard of healthcare delivery services under the scheme;
To improve and harness private sector participation in the provision of healthcare services.
The scheme will be implemented in an integrated approach through social, private community based health insurance schemes;
To mobilize funds to subsidize the cost of provision of healthcare.
To promote social protection by protecting households from catastrophic health expenditures (impoverishing payments incurred when they access health services).
Developed nations all around the world have a form of national health insurance for their citizens, its time Ugandans also got free access to healthcare for a healthier and more productive population.