People will pay an agreed amount of money as premium to the respective health centres.
Kampala Archdiocese is its final stages of rolling out its first-ever health insurance scheme to communities served by church-founded health centres.
According to the first Vicar General in charge of health services, Msgr. Charles Kasibante, this will benefit people being served by the 21 health centres under Rubaga Archdiocese, including four hospitals of Kisubi, Nkozi, Lubaga and Nsambya.
The health centres are St Ulrika Kiziba, St Francis Naddangira, and St Charles Jinja- Kalooli, Kijabijo in Gayaza, St Kizito Bwaise and St Magdalene Lweza.
Others are St Joseph Buyege, Benedict Medical Centre, Bbiina, St Yakobo-Buzaabalyawo Ggoli, and St Anthony, Mitala-Maria, St Luke Kkonge, St Monica Katende, St Joseph Nswanjere, Nabbingo and Katereke Muzinda in Nsangi.
"The Church cares for the body and soul. A heathy soul needs a healthy body," Msgr. Kasibante said during the opening of St Luke Health Centre III, Kkonge under St Matia-Mulumba sub-parish.
He also said many people do not go for treatment because they do not have money for emergencies.
"If someone registers with the community insurance, they will be able to access free medical treatment any time," he said. St Luke Health Centre III was built with the assistance of Raskob Foundation for Catholic activities in America.
HOW IT WILL WORK
According to the Archdiocesan health coordinator, Sr Mary Pauline Nayiga, the system is designed to work with local communities and their health centres.
People will pay an agreed amount of money as premium to the respective health centres. "Members will be entitled to treatment even beyond the premium they paid. Many Ugandans tend to ignore medical checkups and only run to hospitals when it is too late.
Now they will go for consultations without fearing the financial implications," she said. Nayiga said the process is being finalized. "We had training as service providers and managers in July.
We are now moving around explaining and popularising the project. Our aim is to first deal with registered SACCOS and groups, such as bodaboda cyclists, farmers and traders' associations, who may wish to pay for their members. Then we shall register and take in individual families.
Healthcare providers who wish to participate will be assessed, accredited and trained," she said.
So far, the amount of money per year has not been set. Nayiga says it will depend on individual health centres, but what was decided on was that the annual premium can be paid in quarterly instalments.
"Our tentative arrangement is for health centres to register groups or individual members who enrol with at least four dependents.
There is no age limit, no exclusions in terms of religion, women, tribe or area of abode," she said. Nayiga noted that the scheme is not for profit, but to improve health service delivery.
This comes on the heels of a Government scheme to provide national health insurance, which has dragged on for years since 2013, when it was first proposed. According to government statistics, over 41% of expenditure on health services is out of pocket by households, while 42% is by donors.
The Government contributes 15%. Community-based health insurance schemes were first created in 1995 in Kisiizi Hospital, Rukungiri district. By 2018, there were 26 schemes, many of them in the southern part of the country.