Following the increase in the annual premiums for community health insurance for better services, reports indicate that some families have found it difficult to raise the new amount.
The increase was necessitated by the need to expand the range covered the by Mutuelle de Sante scheme, thereby further easing access to health services.
Although the government has undertaken to pay the premiums of the citizens who were classified in the ‘abject poverty’ category – during a study on individual households’ incomes – there are others who may be unable to raise the new amount at once.
Effective this Financial Year, the annual premiums increased from Rwf1, 000 to varying amounts, between Rwf2,000 and Rwf7,000 – depending on each household’s economic status.
It is against that backdrop that Gicumbi District has come up with an initiative to encourage needy residents to form mutual groups and collectively make periodical contributions, in affordable installments, through grassroots savings and credit cooperatives (Saccos).
This homegrown solution has helped many to easily adapt to the new changes, since they are able to meet the new cost, without straining.
Such community initiatives should be emulated by other districts, with similar challenges. Otherwise, the new premiums should help fix the challenges associated with the previous arrangement.
In addition, by involving the local communities in devising remedies to their challenges, they tend to fully own the programme.