Government to offer national health insurance to Ugandans, PM Rugunda

Wednesday June 12 2019
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PM Ruhakana Rugunda unveils the new plan for the expansion of Nakasero Hospital during the 10th anniversary celebrations at serena Hotel in Kampala on June 10, 2019. Photo by Eve Muganga

Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has admitted that there’s still a gap in medical care in the country but said the government will be implementing the national health insurance policy to benefit Ugandans who faced with challenges of better health care access.
“It is painful to see people who require medical care having challenges to access that medical care because they can’t afford it or because there’s no readily available medical professional who can provide that service. Bad as it’s, we are not just lamenting; the Hon. Minister of health has a brought a cabinet memo on health insurance so that the republic of Uganda can be protected in terms of having to raise certain high levels of amounts of money to meet their medical costs,” he said.

Speaking as the chief guest at the 10th anniversary of Nakasero Hospital at Serena Hotel in Kampala on Monday, Dr Rugunda said national health insurance will enable government, the private hospital proprietors and managers to collaborate so as to provide a well-considered comprehensive health insurance system that will re-assure Ugandans the essential health care.
“It’s true that at the moment, there are many Ugandans who spend a lot of money on health care and sometimes not sure of the quality of service that they are getting,’’ he noted.

Dr Edward Rukwaro, the Nakasero Hospital chief executive officer said the hospital which started in 2009 with about 14,000 outpatient visits has registered an increase in the number to 78,000 patients as of 2018.
“We have an expansion plan for our new facility which is worthy $10 million. The facility will offer services like cardiology service unit, unit for laparoscopic surgery and orthopedic surgery because it is only Mulago with the Cancer Lab. Therefore, in case of cardiac issues that need urgent attention the patient will be able to access those services without necessarily going to Mulago or spending a lot of money to travel abroad,’’ he said.

However, the minister for Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said “the demand for health care is huge but demand for quality health care is even bigger.’’
“There are people up to now who can’t afford good quality healthcare and we need to think about them. Currently, our ministry together with ministry of finance created a medical credit facility for the private sector where we are putting aside money that the private sector can borrow to enhance their capacity.”