Gicumbi District residents have created groups to jointly raise funds to pay for their health insurance cover.
District officials say health insurance coverage stands at only 40 percent.
Theresa Mujawamariya, the Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs, announced December as the deadline for all residents to have acquired medical insurance.
Mujawamariya said that to beat the deadline, residents were encouraged to form groups to help each other raise the money in equal instalments.
The new health insurance cover is divided in three categories: the well-to-do who pay Rwf 7,000 per year, the second category pay Rwf 3, 000, while those in extreme poverty will be covered by the government at Rwf 2,000.
All three categories are entitled to the same services.
“Since residents decry high health insurance charges, we are sensitising them to create groups whereby one contributes at least Rwf 500 once in a week when they meet. And each of these groups should open up an account with the sector savings and credit scheme, SACCO,” Mujawamariya explained.
She noted that the idea of forming groups is paying off.
“The group practice is promising because, so far, one cell has attained 100 percent coverage and we want to ensure that all other villages emulate it,” she said.
Residents who have medical insurance cover testify about its benefits.
Jeannette Mukashema, a 42 -year-old housewife in Byumba Sector, got her health insurance card in July.
She said she understood the importance of medical insurance when she fell sick and got admitted at Byumba Hospital, recently.
“Imagine, I paid just Rwf 2,000 for the treatment I received yet I would have spent over Rwf 50,000 if I was not medically insured,” Mukashema said.
“Now I feel protected because I obtained the new health insurance card that covers all the diseases,” said another resident who raised the money through groups.
Dr. Fred Muhayirwe, Byumba Hospital administrator, said people have understood the importance of health insurance.
“Most of the patients we receive have new cards, and it seems promising,” said Muhayirwe.