Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka has tasked district officials to explain why they were not paying health insurance for the village leaders.
This follows complaints from several village leaders from NorthernProvince districts that despite several reminders, the local government continues to default on a promise it made to pay health insurance premiums (Mutuelle de Santé) for them.
The promise to pay the insurance cover was made last year as an incentive for the village leaders who do voluntary work.
It was agreed that every district include in their budget money to pay for village leaders’ health insurance.
The idea was to support five people in every village leader’s family. But in the province, only Gicumbi District met its end of the bargain.
At a meeting with Minister Kaboneka in Musanze District, yesterday, several village leaders expressed disappointment over the failure to deliver on the promise.
Adeodatus Sibomana, a leader from Kajerejeri Village, Busenga Sector in Gakenke District, said they find it hard to pay for health insurance and urged the district to follow through on the pledge.
“We are volunteers with less time to work for our own health cover. Besides, we are not paid salaries to enable us pay health insurance and meet other needs,” Sibomana said.
Another village leader from Burera District, who preferred not to be named, said it was negligence on the part of districts as they had been reminded several times in vain.
Minister Kaboneka, who said it did not make sense that the village leaders are not catered for, said other districts did not register such complaints.
“The decision was taken last year and should be included in this year’s budget. It is not understandable the promise was not honoured. This might have been due to negligence because it is being done elsewhere in the country,” Kaboneka said.
Gakenke mayor Deogratius Nzamwita said they had not paid health insurance for village leaders because it was not included it to the year’s budget, but promised include it during the mid-term budget review.
Winifried Mpembyemungu of Musanze District said they had completed arrangements to have the premiums paid soon.
However, Kaboneka insisted that the matter should be addressed within the next two weeks.
An estimated 73 per cent of Rwandans used Mutuelle de Santé for their health insurance in the last financial year.
Rwanda adopted a new community-based health initiative contribution scheme based on social economic stratification drawn in 2010.
In the approach, the population is subdivided in different socio-economic categories based on the level of household wealth. Premiums are paid depending on the stratification which is made of six categories.
Those in category one and two are automatically subscribed to Mutuelle de Santé since they are considered poor and do not pay premiums. The government pays Rwf2,000 for everyone in those two categories.
Those who fall in category three and four pay Rwf3,000, while those in the remaining two categories have to contribute Rwf7,000.
About 25 per cent of the Rwandan population is in category one and two.