Uganda moves towards universal healthcare

Plans to provide universal healthcare to all adult citizens and residents of Uganda in 2021 are soon to happen. In the long term this will reduce outbound medical tourism.

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Bill has been passed by Parliament but there are, as yet, no launch dates. The scheme will be implemented in phases from 2022.

The objective of the bill is to develop health insurance as a mechanism for financing healthcare. The bill requires hospitals to provide a wide range of services for both inpatients and outpatients, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS symptomatic treatment, emergency care and antenatal care.

It also provides for dental care, eye care, mental health, radiological investigations, imaging services, surgical services, mortuary services and laboratory investigations.

Salaried employees will have deductions made from their salaries by the employer, with a contribution from the employer, while those who are self-employed will make an annual contribution. Community insurances are not prohibited and would run alongside the Government scheme.

The state has been trying since 2006 to bring in universal healthcare.