This is the 4th National Community Health Financing (CHF) Conference Save for Health Uganda (SHU) is organising to promote community health financing initiatives and advocate for their integration in national programs. CHF refers to a voluntary, non-profit mechanism under which community members pool resources for their health care in a prepayment arrangement. SHU has worked with both rural and urban families, formal and informal sector groups to form community health insurance (CHI) schemes in nine districts of Uganda.

CHI is one of the CHF instruments for mitigating shocks caused by ill-health and improving access to healthcare for low-income families. The CHI schemes are helping protect families from impoverishing out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures, which is a key component of universal health coverage. The future of these schemes and many others started in more than 20 districts covering over 152,000 individuals lies in having a national policy and legal framework promoting prepayment mechanisms that enable households to plan for their healthcare costs.

Specific aim of the conference

To mobilise leaders and other actors to embrace and support CHF initiatives and the NHIS for universal health insurance coverage.


Uganda has largely been implementing a free healthcare system since 2001, which presumes free access to healthcare services at public facilities. A few public hospitals charge user fees from patients who opt for the private wing. However, household expenditure on healthcare has remained high at 40 percent with 37 percent being out-of-pocket expenditure and only 3% is raised through prepayment mechanisms. Up to 17.5 percent of out-of-pocket expenditure on health is spent at government owned facilities. High out-of-pocket expenditure pushes many of the vulnerable into poverty.

For over 17 years, the Uganda government has been planning to introduce a national health insurance scheme and developed a draft National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Bill, which was approved by Cabinet in June 2019 and tabled in Parliament on 22nd August, 2019. At the same time, in February this year, Parliament granted leave to the Chairperson of the Health Committee, Hon. Dr. Michael Bukenya, to develop a private member’s Bill on NHIS. The National Social Protection Policy, 2015 recognises affordable health insurance as one of the priority social protection interventions. CHI and other CHF initiatives which will be discussed at the conference a envisaged as an avenue for the informal sector to benefit from the NHIS.

This conference will bring together key stakeholders including policy makers, researchers and implementers to share scientific and practical experiences on expanding health insurance as an intervention for achieving universal health coverage in Uganda. Outcomes of the conference will be shared widely with stakeholders including policy makers and development partners.

To showcase the impact of community health financing initiatives on families and healthcare providers, their role in the implementation of the NHIS, and advocate for universal health coverage.

1. Community based health financing schemes: their operations, benefits and impact

2. Integrating Community Health Financing initiatives in other local and national systems and programs (case studies).

3. Progress of Luwero District based Community Health Financing scheme

4. Progress of National Health Insurance Scheme bill

5. The role of Community Health Financing initiatives in linking the informal sector to the National Health Insurance Scheme.

6. Role of leaders at various levels in Community Health Financing and National Health Insurance Scheme implementation.

Participant registration form

Participation fee: UGX 150,000 (for meals & stationary in kampala only) & UGX 200,000 (Kampala & Luweero Visit)

  • Bank details: Bank details: Account Name: Save for Health Uganda; Account Number: 0102012585400; Bank: Standard Chartered Bank; Branch: Speke Road, Kampala.
  • Mobile money number 0773 968 786 in the name of Save for Health Uganda.

Registration deadline: 1st November, 2019


The conference will be held on 13th - 15th November, 2019. On the first day, participants will visit communities and institutions involved in promoting CHI in Luwero district while two days will be dedicated to presentations and discussions.


Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala

Luweero District

Participants will spend the first day of the conference in Luwero district visiting communities and healthcare providers involved in the CHI program. Luwero district has made a significant contribution to the growth of CHI in Uganda through community-level efforts and the commitment of the district leadership. Last year, the district council passed an ordinance (law) to regulate CHI and promote it across the district. In addition, CHI schemes have continuously existed in Luwero since 2000. By December 2018, there were 52 running schemes covering 20,000 individuals, representing 13 percent of all people enrolled in CHI schemes in the country. At least 20 percent of healthcare providers serving CHI schemes are located in the district. These range from health centres to hospitals linked through a referral network established by the schemes.

For the final two days of the conference, participants will gather at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala to share experiences from the field visits and hold discussions with policy makers on the conference topics.

Contacts for more information

1. Makaire Fredrick

Executive Director

Tel : 0772515466

Email: /

2. Nnamulondo Proscovia

Communication and Advocacy Officer

Tel : 0777490902 /0752598394


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.