Many Ugandans face financial challenges in accessing healthcare services due to poverty and high out-of-pocket payments. The Uganda Household Survey Report of 2016/17 indicated that 21.4% of the population, representing 8.1 million people, were living below the poverty line.
This high level of poverty coupled with the high out-of-pocket expenditure at 41% 1 of total health care expenditure, implies that a significant proportion of Ugandans are adversely affected by ill-health. Poor households often resort to distress sale of productive assets to pay for health services, which usually drives the members deeper into poverty.
Community Health Insurance, which started in Uganda in 1996 and currently covers about 150,000 people in 21 districts, is one of the community health financing (CHF) instruments for mitigating shocks caused by ill-health and improving access to healthcare for low-income families.
The other CHF instruments include voucher schemes, community health funds, health revolving funds, and drug revolving funds, which all together cover people.
At national level, the government plans to introduce a universal national health insurance system.
This commitment is anchored in the Uganda Vision 2040, the National Development Plan II, the Health Sector Development Plan 2015/2016 – 2019/2020, and the National Social Protection Policy, 2015, among others. At the moment, the draft NHIS bill, 2014, is pending presentation to Parliament.