The Ministry of Health has rewarded local village leaders in Gatsibo district as recognition for the efforts in promoting health insurance and encouraging residents to acquire health insurance policy before the end of this year.
Ten leaders were rewarded with brand new high-end cellphones, worth over Rwf60.000 each, by the minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, during a function held at Byumba district Hospital recently.
Though most of the leaders didn’t know how to use the smart phones- that contained applications like twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp; most of them were excited about the idea of getting trendy.
Jean de Dieu Ahishakiye, one of the beneficiaries said that will help him to get connected with the world and get updates on news and information about the health sector and the country’s development.
Dr. Binagwaho said that the rewards were aimed at motivating the local leaders so that they can play a big part in mobilizing resident to understand the importance of health insurance, thus support the government initiative of free and affordable health care for all as seen in the country’s vision2020.
Rwanda’s health system is financed both by state funds and by individuals’ contributions through health insurance and direct fees for services. Health insurance is provided through a variety of programs.
The largest is the Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme which is primarily comprised of a social health insurance program called Mutuelles de Sante. Members pay annual premiums of approximately USD $6 per family member (increased in 2011 from USD $2 per person) with a 10% service fee paid for each visit to a health centre or hospital.
Membership is voluntary and payment of premiums is based on economic status. The program was first introduced in 2004. By 2010, 91% of the Rwanda population was insured through Mutuelles de Sante. Rwandans can access health care at all public and non-profit health centers in Rwanda, but the Mutuelles de Sante member’s package does not include coverage at private health centers.
90.7% of Rwandans made their contribution during the last financial year and call upon everyone to make their contribution ahead of time so that they may have access to health care without any hindrances.” Today, it covers over 90 % of the population of 12million Rwandans.
The government subsidizes mutual health insurance programme with US$ 4 million annually while the Global Fund contributes US$ 5million. Contributions by beneficiaries add up to US$ 30 million.
The community based Mutuelle programme has registered a lot of progress, including reduction in out of pocket spending, treatment is now affordable to many, and has also encouraged most of them to seek medical services unlike other unhealthy options. People subscribed to Mutuelle have access to health care through all public and private non-profit health centres in Rwanda.