Universal health cover not a task for planners only, medics told

Health practitioners have been urged to play an active role in pursuing universal health coverage and not see the task as a reserve for planners and economists.

Health practitioners have been urged to play an active role in pursuing universal health coverage and not see the task as a reserve for planners and economists.

The call was made at the 19th Rwanda Medical Association meeting, a two-day forum focusing on scaling up universal health coverage in Rwanda, which concluded in Kigali on Saturday.

Universal health care, refers to a health care system that provides health care and financial protection to all citizens of a particular country.

Health insurance in Rwanda stands at about 84 per cent.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Maria Mugabo, the head of Family Health Programme in World Health Organisation Rwanda, said that the discussion on sustainable financing to ensure universal health coverage may seem more for economists and planners, but other stakeholders, specifically medics, have a big role to play.

“In fact, healthcare providers have a greater part to play in terms of contribution to resource mobilisation, they are advocates for adequate investment in health, they also contribute to resource management and promoting strategy in accountable health spending,” she said.

“WHO strongly believes that it is through adoption of multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approaches that the SDGs and universal health coverage goals will be achieved,” she added.

Dr Jean Batiste Rugamba, the director general of Ngarama District Hospital agrees to this fact.

“Universal health coverage should be multi-disciplinary. Doctors should be aware and have passion for the task. Besides, doctors are part of opinion leaders, when they are involved in mobilisation and sensitisation, it can be easily achieved. They should not only be implementers, they should also be involved in preparation of universal health coverage,” he said.

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

Dr Veronique Zinnen, a medic working as technical advisor at the Belgian Development Agency believes there is always a gap between public health decisions at the higher level by political leaders and the field where doctors are working.

“It is true that there is always a gap between the policy and the field. So, there are some gaps between the political decisions or public health decisions at higher level and the field,” she said.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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