National Health Insurance Scheme Bill in the Offing

Neighbouring countries like Kenya already have a health insurance law

Some NRM members who lost in the 2010 primary elections have expressed their disappointment with the party’s leadership for ignoring their concerns.

According to Iyard Munanura Rushatuka, order troche the interim Chairman of people who lost during the NRM primaries 2010 and the General elections, more about 2011, there were a lot of irregularities in these elections that need to be addressed before the next party primaries and general elections.

Following these electoral malpractices, the president constituted a committee headed by the Wakiso Woman MP, Rosemary Sseninde to investigate the intensity of matter and to suggest the possible solutions to the situation.

However, Munanura told Chimpreports on Monday  evening that Sseninde’s report leaves a lot of questions unanswered. He says it does not specify the NRM cadres and its target audience is not clear.

Munanura, the former Igara East constituency MP contestant, adds that they wrote a letter to the NRM leadership informing them of their grievances that need to be addressed in the shortest possible time before the delegates’ conference of December 15.

He pointed out that the group is set to meet on November 29, 2014 to discuss the way forward.

Munanura revealed that the report was biased as they did not consult those who lost to give a better analysis of the crisis.

These events come at a time when NRM is struggling to contain the internal wrangles sparked by the sacking and replacement of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

This has bred suspicion in the party with some party members being accused of belonging to the pro-Mbabazi faction which is pushing him to stand against Museveni in the 2016 presidential elections.

Sseninde’s report suggested among others that all party leaders apart from Museveni should not hold two offices. It also held the decision of the party maintaining Universal adult suffrage as the best poll approach on condition that it is less manipulated.

The report further had a call for the decentralization of the nomination of primary contenders to reduce the congestion at the NRM secretariat and the expense incurred as a result.

This report proposes that whoever wants to contest for the party’s ticket for the post of the president must pay Shs5m, whereas those contesting for MP seats on the party’s ticket will pay Shs 3m.

To those interested in contesting for district Chairpersonship, Shs500, 000 will be expected from them while local leaders shall pay Shs50, 000. The money generated will enable the party to organise free and fair elections.

It also bears a proposal that the position of secretary general and his or her deputy be made full time jobs to ensure that they dedicate enough time to party.


The same report proposes that positions of party treasurer and his or her deputy should as well be full time jobs.

A call for an independent electoral commission that is free from the influence of senior party leaders and the deployment of police at polling stations as way of ensuring free and fair elections is also contained in the Sseninde report.

The report derived its recommendation from the Committee’s working tours to Namibia, Ghana and Tanzania, where they compared notes with the ruling parties.

While presenting this report in August, Sseninde noted that the recommendations once adopted will go a long way on restoring confidence in the hundreds of legislators who have decided not to go for the primaries sighting cost and irregularities.

Recently, the acting NRM secretary general Dorothy Hyuha issued a notice inviting members to submit any proposals for amendments to the party constitution ahead of the December 15 national delegates’ conference.

Through her communication dated November 4, she set December 5 as the deadline for submission of proposals.

Under rule 42 of the NRM constitution, the Secretary General is mandated within 30 days of the delegates’ conference to receive proposals for amendments to the party constitution from members.

Tensions however continue to develop amidst suspicions of leadership challenge in the NRM following a presumed fall-out between the president and his secretary general, Amama Mbabazi, who was sacked as prime minister on September 18.

Job Namanya Apuuli
Member of Parliament on the Committee on Health who were recently on a visit aimed at benchmarking Israel’s healthcare system have said that presently, cost the semblance of an ambulance service is what is rendered by the Ministry of Health, Uganda Red Cross Society, St. John’s Ambulance, the police and army in emergency situations.

“An ambulance system must be the package of health services rendered to Ugandans. We need a policy that will feed this service into the national health services,” the Chairperson Committee on Health, Dr. Kenneth Omona said while meeting officials from Magen David Adom, Israel’s national ambulance service and disaster rescue agency on Thursday, November 6th in Israel.

Dr. Omona heaped praise on Magen David Adom for running what he called the biggest hi-tech and national emergency system in Israel.

Magen David Adom, which was established in 1950, has 45 branches throughout Isreal and has a paramedic system in every ambulance providing life support.

The facility, which relies on over 13,000 trained volunteers to serve the country’s population of 8million, has state-of-the-art life support ambulances, mobile intensive care units, motorbikes and all terrain vehicles.

The Commissioner for Health Services in Charge of Planning in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Francis Runumi, also noted that in Uganda, some vehicles bear the word “Ambulance” yet are they are just patient transport vehicles often manned by people with no basic emergency training.

“We are still a disorganised entity that needs to put our act together. We need to come up with a Uganda National Ambulance Services and there is goodwill from government and development partners who are willing to inject in some money,” he said.

The delegation of Members of the Health Committee that were on a study visit to Israel from Monday 3rd to Friday 8th November 2014 and included Hon. Dr. Kenneth Omona, MP Kaberamaido (Chairperson, Committee on Health), Hon. Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo, MP Mbarara Municipality, Hon. Wadada Femiar, MP Sironko District, Hon. Evelyn Anite, Youth MP and Dr. Francis Runumi, the Commissioner for Health Services in Charge of Planning in the Ministry of Health, who also Chairs the taskforce tasked with designing the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The week long study visit was organised by King David Medicine, a privately owned firm headquartered in Haifa, Israel with operations in Africa.
With countries in the region already having health insurance schemes, information pills Uganda will soon follow suit, albeit being the last East African country, to introduce a National Health Insurance Scheme.

The proposed plan will have the scheme financed by 4 percent monthly contributions from an employee’s earnings, with the employer contributing an additional 4 percent.

While meeting officials of Israel’s Health Insurance Scheme, on Tuesday, November 3rd in Jerusalem, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary committee on Health, Dr. Kenneth Omona said that with the growing population and challenges of new emerging diseases and improvement in technology in as far as diagnosis and treatment of diseases is concerned, there was a need to benchmark and see how Parliament can help guide policy and develop legislation to improve human health.

“We are planning on setting up our own insurance scheme,” he said. “The National Health Insurance Scheme started about 13 years ago and we have waited so long. We think that the time is ripe for the National Health Insurance Scheme to be introduced,” he added.

The Committee, which was in Israel from 2nd – 9th  November 2014 was on an official visit aimed at  benchmarking Israel’s healthcare system and also looking at areas of cooperation between the governments of Israel and Uganda in skills training and human resource development.

While Uganda is in the formative stages of enacting legislation on health insurance, Israel enacted its National Health Insurance Law in 1995 giving universal insurance to all its residents.

Israel’s Director General, National Insurance Institute, Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef explained the sources of financing for health as being contributions from Government (40.7%), health insurance contributions (52.9%) and direct income (6.4%).

The Commissioner for Health Services in Charge of Planning in the Ministry of Health, and also the Chair of the taskforce tasked with designing the National Health Insurance Scheme, Dr Francis Runumi, explained that following consultations with different stakeholders, they now have a draft bill on the introduction of the national health insurance.

“We are only waiting for the certificate of financial implications from the Ministry of Finance then we will prepare a Cabinet Paper and have it tabled in Parliament,” he added.

While routing for the introduction of the scheme, Dr Runumi explained that the policy of providing free health services at government facilities is still running but over the years it has been recognised that much as the policy is for free health services, in practice, the free services are inadequate or absent.

“People have been forced to sell their property or to acquire loans from loan sharks to address their health needs,” he pointed out.

In a country where the life expectancy is very high; 81 years for men and 84 years for women, Israel’s focus is now on fourth generation diseases like dementia and oncology which are prevalent among the very old.

The delegation of the Health Committee which comprises the Chairperson, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Omona, MP Kaberamaido, Hon. Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo, MP Mbarara Municipality, Hon. Femiar Wadada, MP Sironko District, Hon. Evelyn Anite, Youth MP and Dr. Francis Runumi, Commissioner for Health in the Ministry of Health also visited major health facilities and hospitals in Israel.



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