It is estimated that just one million Ugandans have medical insurance.
HEALTH | AFFORDABILITY
The Government, healthcare service providers and insurers have been urged to forge partnerships aimed at reducing the cost of medical services in the country so as to increase access to quality medical care.
The International Health Science University (IHSU) vice-chancellor, Dr. Rose Clarke, said healthcare in Uganda is increasingly becoming expensive.
“We have so many mushrooming healthcare centres in the country, but they are becoming inaccessible to many people because they are too expensive. We need to work together to enable Ugandans access healthcare at a minimal cost,” Clarke said.
She added: “All stakeholders need to come to the table to be able to bracket some of our interests and come up with affordable healthcare products.”
Clarke was speaking on the on the sidelines of a ceremony to sign a memorandum of understanding between the International Health Science University (IHSU) and the Insurance Institute of Uganda in Kampala recently.
The MoU will allow the institute and the university to collaborate in training by offering advanced certificate in health insurance so as to build a critical mass of medical insurance professionals to drive penetration, according to IIU chief executive officer Saul Sseremba.
Sseremba added that the MoU will also see the two institutions conduct joint research to enable informed industry decisions aimed at growing medical insurance and improving the quality of healthcare in the country.
For many years, medical insurance in Uganda has been a preserve for the rich and the corporates, who can afford the relatively huge premiums charged by health insurance service providers.
It is estimated that there just about one million people with medical insurance, with majority being corporate clients.
Dr. Scott Aebischer, Senior Vice President, HealthPartners USA, also said urged stakeholders to increase senstisation about medical insurance so as to boost uptake, which he said will is crucial in reducing the cost of medical insurance through spreading the risk.
Dr. Stella Regina Nakiwala, the Chief of Party, HealthPartners- Uganda, also urged stakeholders to consider introducing micro community-health insurance products for low income earners in addition to developing capacity for health services providers to ably serve people at the grass root, saying there is huge demand for such services.
Community-based health insurance is where income earners pool resources and select a preferred healthcare service provider, who they negotiate with to provide services for a pre-determined period upon payment of quarterly or annual premiums.