Rwanda’s Kagame leads Africa on Universal Healthcare, graced by Forbes as African Man of the Year, 2018
With more than 90 per cent of Rwandans covered under the community-based health insurance scheme locally known as Mutuelle de Santé, Rwanda is one of the few developing countries in the world that have successfully achieved universal healthcare, the East African has said.
“The scheme has in recent years encountered challenges of low real uptake numbers, inflated numbers by local leaders and poor service delivery in health centres and district hospitals, prompting the government to transfer management of the scheme to the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) under the Rwandaise d’Assurance Maladie”, it added.
According to the Ministry of Health, management of the scheme which was initiated in 2000 but was operationalised in 2004 has improved since it was moved to RSSB in 2015 but some citizens say the quality of services given to subscribers is still wanting.
“It is not easy to secure a transfer from a district hospital if you need to go to a referral hospital,” says Sarafina Mukasarasi, 40, a card holder, though she says services at the district hospitals have improved, despite the long queues.
Ms Mukasarasi however says that thanks to the insurance scheme, which she pays about $3.36 (Rwf3,000) a year based on her household income, she does not pay a single coin when she falls ill or child birth. She delivered all her three children in a district hospital at no cost.
The scheme has been touted as one of the most successful on the continent and it is credited for the country’s lower maternal and infant mortality rates of 77 per cent and 70 per cent respectively, since 2000.
It is also used as an example of affordable universal healthcare schemes for poor countries.
Meanwhile, as the winner of the African of the Year Award by the All Africa Business Leaders Award, Rwandan President Paul Kagame graces the cover of the January edition of Forbes Africa Magazine.
The award, which was presented on November 29, celebrates and honours leaders who have contributed and shaped the African economy.
In the magazine, Kagame opened up about the award and other changes he had instituted not only as the president of Rwanda but the chair of the African Union in the past year.
Kagame has been considered a controversial leader, with heaps of praise over how he has led the country through a period of relative peace and prosperity since the genocide in 1994. In the past year, Rwanda has been named the least corrupt country on the continent and second in the ease of doing business.
The president has also come under criticism for alleged harassment, abuse and arrest of his political opponents, including Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Diane Shima Rwigara, who were in jail for running against him for the country’s top post. In October 2018, he passed a law that criminalizes statements and publications deemed humiliating by government officials, further increasing his fame as an authoritarian.
Kagame has also been known to be vocal about the influence of the West on Africa, calling for continental leaders to work with each other than depending on aid from the West for the development of the continent. However, he has been seen making deals with companies such as Ali Baba from China, a country he says traded equally with Africa even when there is evidence on the contrary.