‘Mutuelles de Santé’ sharing the burden of illness

Mandatory participation in mutual health insurance schemes and public subsidies for all Rwandans has led to considerable improvement in public health care. This has been through our long praised health insurance scheme Mutuelles de Santé. Establishment of this health insurance cover is a clear sign that government is committed to improve the health situation of its citizens. However, the success of this scheme lies in the hands of Rwandans who share the burden of sickness by contributing willingly to this scheme. Apparently, the scheme has been globally praised and evident to this is that the leading global and famous health magazine, The Lancet, has recently published a number of articles praising the scheme and calling on the first world countries to adopt Rwanda’s system.

Mandatory participation in mutual health insurance schemes and public subsidies for all Rwandans has led to considerable improvement in public health care. This has been through our long praised health insurance scheme Mutuelles de Santé.

Establishment of this health insurance cover is a clear sign that government is committed to improve the health situation of its citizens.

However, the success of this scheme lies in the hands of Rwandans who share the burden of sickness by contributing willingly to this scheme.

Apparently, the scheme has been globally praised and evident to this is that the leading global and famous health magazine, The Lancet, has recently published a number of articles praising the scheme and calling on the first world countries to adopt Rwanda’s system.

In addition to that, during the ‘Countdown to 2015 maternal, newborn, and child survival’, conference held last year in Cape Town, South Africa, Rwanda’s Mutuelles de Santé was lauded as a case study for proper health insurance for mothers and children.

Surprisingly, as the health scheme in Rwanda secceeds by day, leading governments in developed countries, are faced with problems of addressing the high demand of health insurance.

Citizens in these countries have been condemned to death as they struggle to access proper health insurance. During the previous presidential elections in the United States, candidates were put to task, to come up with genuine policies that address health insurance.

Yet in Rwanda, the smoothest system has been created by the government, in its efforts at ensuring universal health care for all. Currently, there are several health insurance programmes in Rwanda targeting specific groups of the population.

However, the biggest in terms of membership is the Mutuelles de Sante scheme, which is organised on a household basis, with an annual payment of Rwf 1000 (less than US$2) per family. This may sound unbelievable to the western world, but it has been proved to be more efficient and very applicable.

Our government has realised that by basing its health financing systems on solidarity and fairness, achieving millennium development goals will not only be accelerated but our society will also grow socially and economically - a better way to sell the idea to the world. 

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