EDITORIAL: Universal healthcare is not a dream, even in the most remote areas of Rwanda

Someone once wrote that healthcare is like an orchestra, even though people play different instruments, the end result is a common beautiful melody. The ultimate goal is to have universal healthcare, but for many people around the world – including the United States by the way – the music is an out-of-note cacophony.

At the just-concluded East and Central Africa Social Security Association (ECASSA) Policymakers’ Conference in Kigali, it was revealed that over 100 million people are pushed into poverty every year because of digging into their pockets to pay for medical care.

For Rwanda’s case, the health of its people is its main preoccupation. Human resource is its only treasure and only a healthy population will help it attain its social-economic goals.

Against all odds, it has achieved what many countries only dream of; healthcare for all. The community health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de Sante, now covers over 80 per cent of the population. The others are covered by mainstream providers such as RAMA and others.

For the most vulnerable, the Government covers their medical needs through fully subsidising their health insurance, approximately 16 percent of the population.

However, Mutuelle currently does not cover a category of diseases, especially non-communicable ones and which, incidentally, are most expensive to treat.

It is, therefore, a welcome relief that plans are underway to make the community health insurance a more wide-reaching cover.

A few years ago, few people would have had faith in the notion of universal health cover for the whole population. But like everything with this country, implementation of even the wildest ideas needs commitment and putting the best foot forward, and this country has plenty of that