By Kate Obande-Okewu
Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, has hailed Rwanda’s Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme, describing it as a good learning experience from her ongoing post-conflict study tour of the country.
Speaking with the Raidar Gist on Tuesday in Kigali, Oyo-Ita said that the introduction of the Rwandan version of health insurance in Nigeria could be considered.
She noted that the current National Health Insurance Scheme was not accessible to rural dwellers, hence the need for a community-based health insurance scheme.
“What I have seen here is that they have a very interesting Community-based Health Insurance Scheme which we will be looking at very closely when we get back home.
“It allows a health insurance policy to be developed right at the grassroots, to improve health care services at the community level.
“Rwanda has implemented this and their citizens are enjoying it; maternal and child mortality rate has dropped drastically due to this scheme; so, we will try to replicate this in Nigeria.”
She noted that the country’s health policy starts from the grassroots and that the members of the community were given the opportunity to choose whom they trust to be their the health attendants.
NAN reports that Rwanda, a country shattered by the genocide against the Tutsis by the Hutus, with most of its health systems defunct until 11 years ago when it introduced the community-based insurance known as `Mutuelle de santé’.
Mutelle de santé is a health insurance scheme financed both by the state and individuals’ contributions through insurance and direct fees for services.
Members pay annual premiums of approximately six dollars per family member (increased in 2011 from two dollars per person) with a 10 per cent service fee paid for each visit to a health centre or hospital.
Rwanda’s community-based health insurance programme, seen as a universal health care model, is said to have been the focus of several large studies and much debate in global health policy.
Many governments in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia have studied Rwanda’s approach, particularly mechanisms to achieve high coverage, which exceeded 90% by 2010.