Community Health Insurance Scheme in Uganda fails to register targeted clients

Community Health Insurance Scheme in Uganda fails to register targeted clients
Fredrick Makaire, the Executive Director Save for Health Uganda [SHU]

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Save for Health Uganda [SHU], a local Non-Governmental Organization [NGO] that is promoting Community Health Insurance Scheme has failed to register its targeted number of clients in the Greater Luweero region due to lack of sufficient and reliable transport means.

Save for Health Uganda [SHU] introduced the Community Health Insurance Scheme in 2000 to help poor people to access quality health care and protect families against incurring catastrophic medical expenses.

Fredrick Makaire, the Executive Director Save for Health Uganda [SHU], says in the Greater Luweero region comprising Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola districts, each member pays between Shillings 12,000-85,000 as a premium to get an insurance cover of up to Shillings 400,000.

Those enrolled on the scheme pay their premium through Community Health Schemes at their parish level, which are under the supervision of Save for Health Uganda. 

Subscribers to the scheme access health services from 12 health facilities under the Community Health scheme. The facilities include among others Bishop Ceaser Asili Memorial Hospital in Luweero district, Kiwoko and Nakaseke Hospitals in Nakaseke district.

Makaire says members have overcome irrational health seeking behaviours such as escaping from health facilities due to failure to clear medical bills.

Those charged with the responsibility of enrolling new clients and collecting the premiums from old clients mainly use Boda Boda motorcycles and sometimes walk when they cannot afford. There are 80 Community Health Schemes in Greater Luweero.

Irene Namalwa, a resident of Kikamulo village in Kikamulo Sub County is one of the subscribers under Kikamulo Mukama Akuuma Health Scheme.

Amiri Ssennyonga is the chairperson of Kibengo Asiika Obulamu Health Scheme in Kikyuusa Sub County in Luweero district. According to Ssennyonga, he has had a tough experience collecting premiums from the members of his scheme due to poor and costly transport.

Frederick Makaire the Executive Director of SHU says that their target was to recruit 50,000 clients in the Greater Luweero region by 2021 but this has not been possible.

He says that by the end of 2019, they had enrolled 32,000 people. He, however, says that things worsened in the last one year as the number of clients dropped to 26,000 people.

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Makaire attributes the setback mainly to lack of transport for the leaders to do their work especially of collecting premiums and registering new members. He says the COVID-19 pandemic, which paralyzed service delivery worsened the situation.

Makaire says it is against this background that they have decided to invest over Shillings 60 million in the purchase of 10 motorcycles to help address the transport problems faced by the schemes.

Makaire says the 10 motorcycles are partially solving the problem, adding that they are still looking for more solutions to address the problem fully.