Rwanda’s leading telecom company — MTN Rwanda — has announced that it will pay out Rwf1.4 billion to the Community Based Health Insurance Scheme in compliance with a ministerial order that seeks to subsidise health insurance for the poorest in the country.
The payment, which the telecom company said will be paid by December, serves a government order that established a 2.5 per cent levy on annual turnovers of telecommunications companies for the first two years to be paid to the community health insurance scheme, which is to increase to 3 per cent in the third year and thereafter.
Other telecom companies — Airtel and Liquid — are expected to follow suit before the year ends.
“In line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal of achieving good health and well-being, MTN Rwanda is committed to contributing to the betterment of the health of millions of Rwandans.
We are all about making a positive and sustainable impact in Rwanda so that we can be better together,” said Mitwa Ng’ambi, MTN Rwanda chief executive.
In the current financial year, the government has increased its spending toward the country’s largest insurance scheme, with an additional of Rwf6 billion through direct budget financing every year.
However, the directive compels telecommunication companies that besides their corporate services, to supporting the embattled community-based insurance scheme.
According to the figures from Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), which manages the scheme, the scheme currently caters for 88 per cent of the population for their healthcare needs.
With annual public contributions of Rwf32.8 billion, including the government subsidies amounting to around Rwf10 billion, Mutuelle de santé still is facing a funding deficit of Rwf14.6 billion every year.
“We recognise healthcare challenges and we are committed to being part of the solution. Our collaboration with the government of Rwanda and RSSB is part of the greater good — we are pleased to work together to create a brighter Rwanda,” said Ms Ng’ambi.
Government officials indicate that while the Mutuelle de Sante beneficiaries, which comprised of low-income families, affected by the shortage of essential medicines mostly for chronic diseases covered and the high cost of drugs prescribed by doctors and not covered under the community-based health insurance, the levy collection could increase the financing of the scheme without increasing the healthcare cost for very many Rwandans.