CSOs want government to enact National health insurance policy

Civil society organizations (CSOs) under the health systems advocacy partnership want the government to fast track the enactment of the National Insurance Policy.

Addressing press at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) offices in Kololo, the CSOs that included ACHEST, Amref health Africa and HEPS-Uganda called upon government to pass the National Health Insurance bill into law as one of the ways of promoting health for all.

The call comes as the World awaits commemoration of the Universal Health Coverage slated for December 12 under the theme “Unite for Universal Health Coverage: Now is the Time for Collective Action”

The International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) is marked every year on December 12 is aimed at mobilizing diverse stakeholders to call for stronger and more equitable health systems to achieve universal health coverage that is inclusive of all population globally.

The Director of Policy and Strategy at ACHEST Dr. Patrick Kadama emphasized the need for the insurance policy as a means of availing inclusive health care.

“This may call upon us to develop cool mechanism to introduce on a phase basis, a national insurance, as and how we can afford this, is not instantaneous. It is a continuous process: and we expect the ministry of health working with the rest of government will be shorty working with parliament to make a law on health insurance,” said Kadama.

For the policy to work effectively, Dr Kadama said, government needs to invest further in infrastructural development to increase geographical access to health care services, skills development and enhancements and technological infrastructure including hospital equipment, medicines and vaccines.

The Executive Director ACHEST Prof Francis Omaswa said that while government has a role to play the public should also take keen interest in health issues stating that health is made at home and only repaired in the hospital when it breaks down.

Omaswa adds that the public should act collectively in detecting and dealing with health issues like teenage pregnancy.

“It is our job to make sure that we look after ourselves first and our families and so forth, not to consign everything to government,” Omaswa said.

Amref Health Africa Country Director Abenet Leykun Berhanu asked government to increase funding for the health sector.

He argues that while government has invested in primary health care, more funds need to be allocated to the health sector.

In the 2018/2019 financial year budget, the health sector was allocated Shs 2.3 trillion representing only 7.4% of the total Shs 32.7 trillion national budget.

Berhanu said that the allocation is not enough considering the increasing need for health services that comes with an increasing population like that of Uganda. He says that government needs to identify other means through which the private sector can boost access to health care services in Uganda.