‘Long-overdue Health Bill’ ready

Cabinet approves national Health Insurance Bill which when enacted will require Ugandans to make mandatory contributions and in exchange be given free health care for aliments covered under the minimum health care package

Attempts to put in place a national health insurance failed after the relevant bill that wanted priority initially given to the working class and civil servants was shot down by MPs.

Under the new proposed bill, Ugandans who are 18 years and above will be required to make yet to be determined monthly contributions from their incomes to a national health insurance board which will be setup after the enactment.

The commissioner in charge of planning financing and policy at the ministry of health Dr Sarah Byakika says that the scheme will enable Ugandans to avoid selling off property to cover unpredictable costs for health care.

She however explains that this scheme will not cover highly specialized treatment
This as she addressed Journalists at the media centre

Dr Byakika also says that this bill takes into account the health care needs under the East African Community integration process.

Since 2002 the government has sought a middle ground between insurance and medical services sectors as well as government and the general public.

Contention was over who should fund the scheme, with plans to tax workers, yet two thirds of workers are in the informal sector, hence hard to tax.

The medical and insurance service providers are also worry of government commitment to remit the costs of treatment as and when they fall due.

Some feared that the delays are aimed at giving government a political edge but Health Minister Sara Opendi says they wanted it to answer all questions.

BY Kenneth Lukwago and Nebert Rugadya