The Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Health and Ministry of East African Community (MINEAC) will next week hold a conference on social health protection (SHP) with a focus on implementation of reforms to extend health coverage in the EAC.
The objectives of the conference are to highlight best practices in health system strengthening and universal health coverage, and to develop a strategy for harmonization of social health protection mechanisms across the EAC region.
The conference scheduled to take place on September 11 through the 13 will bring together over 200 key stakeholders from across the EAC region, the European Union and many other countries.
According to a press statement from the Ministry of Health, the stakeholders include government policy makers from health, finance, labor, planning, and local government, East African Community Officials, national authorities, health insurance organization representatives, healthcare providers, civil society, academics, and development partner leaders.
“Social health protection is about designing a healthcare system that promotes equity, affordability and quality healthcare, thereby enhancing overall productivity.
In some countries up to 11 percent of the population suffers from catastrophic medical expenses each year and up to 5 percent is forced into poverty,” says the statement.
It further says that despite progress achieved toward the health MDGs, further efforts are required to ensure that individuals can benefit from the highest attainable standard of health and that good health can act as a driving force for economic and social development.
Experiences of EAC Member States in providing SHP varies – some have well established compulsory, publicly managed, health insurance programs, some of which include substantial transfers from general budget revenues.
Some governments also fund services, often directly through the supply side, but others also use “performance-based“ payment methods. Some EAC countries even have a robust private health insurance market.
The conference will contribute to the ongoing evidence-based approach of the EAC to meet social health protection needs of its population, as the region strives towards universal coverage and access to health services.