Lost of income among Kigali households slows contributions to health scheme

Tuesday March 29 2022

Members of the public seek medical service. Kigali districts lag behind in contributions to the health insurance scheme. Photo: Cyril Ndegeya


Local leaders Kigali City districts have raised concerns over inability of some residents to make their contributions to the community-based health insurance due to economic hardships.

Residents say they earn too little, living hand to mouth, making it di cult to continue making contribution to the health scheme. Figures by Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) show the three districts of Kigali city — Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro — scored 73.3 percent,72.3 percent and 70 percent respectively in contributions compared with rural districts like Gisagara, Gakenke and Nyaruguru, which scored 97.2 percent, 94.6 percent and 90.2 percent respectively.

Karangwa Jean Bosco, an executive secretary of Tetero cell in Nyarugenge told Rwanda Today that the districts are hosting poor families living with limited source income and unable to pay for their health insurance.

Most families and individuals are homeless and the city holds a big number of street families who do not access such services.

“It is hard for us to teach them the benefits of having health insurance because we used to go home to home to mobilise them but you can’t find them home. Some of them are busy looking for their needs and some street people who run away from authorities...," he

Last week, Minister for State for Community Development and Social Affairs, Assumpta Ingabire said the districts will strengthen advocacy and different stakeholders are assisting the government to pay for poor families according to their new Ubudehe social stratification.


City of Kigali vice mayor in charge of social-economic affairs Mutoni Gatsinzi Nadine said in the past two years, City of Kigali districts were performing at 80 percent but after the economic hard-ships caused by Covid-19 pandemic increased the number of vulnerable families that are unable to afford the contribution and some individuals rush to pay when they are sick.

The City of Kigali accounts for around 754,000 members of community-based health insurance which is at 65 percent while the remaining 25 percent use other health insurances.

Last year, Rwanda social security board collected 197.2 billion of contribution while the overall annual targets were 209.5 billion and were standing at 94.3 percent. But some of the residents say, they earn too little which makes it hard for them to contribute.

For instance, Ngabonziza Emmanuel, a porter who found Nyabugogo revealed that his job earns him at least Rwf800 a day which is only for his food and he sometimes eats once per day while he uses much effort, he said he can’t afford to pay himself.

“ I struggle to get food and sometimes I fail to pay the rent of Rwf4000 per month...” he said.