Ministry of Health, Parliament still committed to introducing NHIS—SHU


A group photo of some of the particpants in Mbarara regional meeting at Hotel Trainagle last month. A SHU photo.

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The 5th National Community Health Financing Conference took place last month at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, with a focus on National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Kampala 2, December 2020: The Ministry of Health and Parliament are still committed to introducing the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Uganda—this is according to Save for Health Uganda in its November 29th publication.

While opening the 5th National Community Health Financing Conference organised by Save for Health Uganda (SHU) at Sheraton Kampala Hotel, on 19th November 2020, Dr. Olaro Charles, the Director of Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health who represented the Minister of Health, said one of the planned interventions for human capital development in the third National Development Plan is implementation of a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to increase health insurance coverage from 2% to 25%.

In the SHU publication, it adds: “The Ministry of Health was committed to achieving the target.”

Dr. Olaro noted that the high out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare at 40% coupled with high poverty levels at 21.4% were worrying. He commended promoters of community health financing (CHI) initiatives for spearheading the transition from out of pocket to prepayments for healthcare, especially in the informal sector.

Dr. Michael Iga Bukenya, the Chairperson of the Health Committee of Parliament, indicated that their target was to have the NHIS Bill passed into law before the current term of office expires. He added that the committee had completed scrutinising the NHIS Bill, which was tabled in Parliament in August 2019.

In her remarks, SHU Board Chairperson, Ms. Leticia Nakimuli Irumba informed participants that SHU’s desire was to stop the narrative of people dying at home, illnesses advancing into complications, incomplete doses, self-medication, people selling off personal assets, and many other negative situations which arise due to lack of cash at the time when sickness strikes.

SHU Executive Director, Mr. Makaire Fredrick, said SHU organizes the annual CHF conferences to advocate for speedy introduction of a universal and fair NHI, and promote community health financing initiatives as appropriate mechanisms to mobilize, educate, and enrol the informal sector, the poor and indigents into the NHIS.

 

He thanked partners that included the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Federation of Uganda Employers and Uganda Insurers Association for their contributions towards the success of the conference.

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The theme for the 5th conference was, “Towards Universal health Coverage in Uganda: increasing demand for community health insurance to reach informal sector workers for the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme”.

The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, an Economist and Lecturer at Makerere University Business School.

The conference was structured into four separate meetings held in Gulu, Mbale, Mbarara and Kampala. The three regional meetings were opened by the respective district chairpersons. The conference was attended by 252 participants altogether (Gulu—50, Mbale -56, Mbarara—72, Kampala—74) as well as an online audience that followed events live via zoom and Facebook.

Summary of key conference resolutions

  1. Participants will take advantage of existing opportunities in organized groups to establish CHI mechanisms.
  2. SHU with partners will set up a coordination mechanism to provide technical support and learning opportunities for experience sharing on CHI.
  3. SHU will provide technical support to organisations interested in establishing CHI schemes.
  4. SHU will work with local government leaders through Uganda Local Governments’ Association to advocate for introduction of the NHIS.
  5. SHU and partners will continue advocating for a speedy enactment of the NHIS Bill into law.
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