At least 91 percent of the Rwandan population had subscribed to health insurance by the end of last year, the Ministry of Health has revealed.
According to an end–of-year ministerial report, 85 percent of Rwandans countrywide were insured with Mutuelle de Sante, the community health insurance scheme, while six percent is shared between different health insurance institutions.
Other institutions are La Rwandaise d’Assurance Maladie (RAMA), the Military Medical Insurance (MMI), CORAR and SORAS.
“More people today have health insurance and everyone with Mutuelle has a right to get medical treatment from his area of residence,” said health minister Richard Sezibera while reacting to questions by journalists that some hospitals were not giving appropriate services to Mutuelle subscribers.
The reason cited for poor services given to Mutuelle holders in some hospitals is that some districts delay to release the Mutuelle funds.
Mutuelle which is said to be a success story in Africa especially in playing a significant role in eradicating malaria, was introduced by the government where people especially low income earners, pay a small amount of money annually to enable them and their families to access treatment at almost no cost throughout the year.
The extremely poor are exempted from paying these fees and are given free access to the facility.
Sezibera admitted that they had some of these problems last year because of some districts that failed to pay but explained that the ministry has already dealt with that by telling District mayors and Vice mayors to promptly pay their arrears.
“The money for Mutuelle should go straight to district accounts so that it is kept and used well to serve its rightful purpose or else there will be repercussions for those who fail to pay,” he added.
He however said that this is does not give hospitals and health centres reason not to treat people with Mutuelle insurance.
“There is no reason as to why health centres refuse to attend to people with Mutuelle because of other factors as long as the person is in their area of operation,” he stated.
The minister added that there are problems that hospitals face when dealing with Mutuelle patients that are transferred from one hospital in one area of operation to another.
“There is still a problem with transferring patients with Mutuelle from one hospital to another but the ministry is addressing it at the moment,” Sezibera said.
The ministry’s report which highlights the 2008 achievements says that it is their obligation that all Rwandans access health insurance.