Results from a comprehensive audit of the community health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de Santé, will be concluded and availed to the public later this month to indicate the real situation of the fund’s management, Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete has said.
The minister made the revelation, last week, in an interview with The New Times in which he explained that the government has embarked on a comprehensive audit of the community health insurance scheme to get a real picture of its management.
The auditing has taken place in the lead up to handing the scheme’s management over to the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), an institution that is expected to re-organise Mutuelle de Santé and improve its services to the majority of Rwandans.
Since around March, internal auditors at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning have been working with local officials from provincial governors and district officials up to sectors’ executive secretaries to establish how the management of the scheme’s funds is being handled, Amb. Gatete said.
Canvassing one district after another, the auditors have so far audited Mutuelle de Santé schemes in 20 districts and Amb. Gatete said the remaining 10 districts will have been audited by end of the month.
“We want to get comprehensive information about Mutuelle de Santé. There have been reports of mismanagement of the scheme’s funds and we want to know the entire truth about it. We also want to see that some people who misused the scheme’s funds are punished,” Gatete said.
The minister said findings from the audit will be made public towards the end of the month when the auditing will have been completed in all the country’s thirty districts.
Since the audit started, some local government officials have been arrested in connection with irregularities found in the management of Mutuelle de Santé, which raised public concerns with many Rwandans calling for a total assessment of the management of the scheme and setting up a new way to manage it.
Gross malpractices and abuse of the scheme were discovered such as inflated figures by local government officials to attain the targets set in their performance contracts (imihigo) as well as outright embezzlement of Mutuelle de Santé funds.
In connection with such faults, several local leaders were arrested, including the former mayor of Rusizi, Oscar Nzeyimana, and four other employees at the district, as well as the former mayors of Karongi and Nyamasheke, Bernard Kayumba and Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, respectively.
All the officials have been temporarily released pending investigations and their trials at different levels.
The poor management of Mutuelle de Santé has led to the reduction in subscription levels to the fund as well as its accumulation of debts for money owed to healthcare providers such as district hospitals, health centres, as well as district pharmacies.
In 2013, the government decided to move the management of the scheme from district officials and the Ministry of Health to RSSB but the later couldn’t take it over immediately as its debts and unclear management record had to be first rectified.
Last week, RSSB director-general, Dr Daniel Ufitikirezi, told The New Times that the agency will officially take over the management of Mutuelle de Santé scheme on July 1.
Dr Ufitikirezi said that he hopes that the government, through the ministry of finance, will have paid off all the scheme’s debts before it can be transferred to RSSB.
He said under RSSB management, the scheme will be placed under a professional, computerised management plan where only those who buy subscription get access to medical treatment.
Dr Ufitikirezi said RSSB will take on the management of the scheme whatever its current shortfalls because he understands that the scheme’s management was given to the body because it had issues in the first place.