The East African Community (EAC) should push for a social health protection programme across all member states, as a way to improve universal access to health services.
This was revealed by Ambassador Richard Sezibera, the Secretary General for the EAC, while opening officially the EAC summit on social health protection that will take three days.
“The EAC bloc urgently need for regional collaboration on the harmonization of social health protection mechanisms as the region targets to become a middle income economy” said Amb. Richard Sezibera, the secretary general for the EAC.
Health minister Dr Agnes Binagwaho says better health package to the Public is needed to make sure that quality health services are easily and equally accessed by citizens of the east African community
This comes as over 200 stakeholders from the East African Community states, the European Union and other countries begin discussions in Kigali on attaining social health protection for the region.
The conference is to draw attention to best practices in strengthening of health systems and universal and health coverage in order to harmonise social health protection mechanisms across the EAC region.
“Universal health coverage is more of a direction than a destination and some governments are dubious about disbursing money to health” Joe Kutzin, the World Health Organization coordinator says.
He added that it’s not possible to achieve universal access when health sector isn’t considered as priority.
But minister Binagwaho, disputed his position and said that all governments are capable of doing what Rwanda has done by giving priority to the health sector.
“currently what is needed most is to first make sure health insurances schemes are in place in all countries, before considering to harmonize what is not in place” Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Health minister said about harmonizing laws for health insurance in the region.
The conference is to draw various approaches to providing universal health coverage in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.
Universal coverage is the subject of a new study that reviewed health systems in 12 African and Asian countries.