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Uganda Health Insurance Sector has growth potential

Monday May 23, 2011

As Uganda prepares ground for a solid national health insurance scheme, emphasis should be directed towards provision of better medical facilities for all categories of people, an expert has advised.

The AAR Health Services group chief executive officer, Jagi Gakunju, explained last week that the national scheme in question would be relevant if it focused on increasing the number of people demanding modern- world health insurance services.

“Uganda is among the African countries with the least developed health insurance industry. Building the sector’s confidence among potential beneficiaries needs to have professional medical workers, structuring services affordable to all and taking services nearer to the people,’ Gakunju argued.

“Quality medicines and modern physical infrastructure also serve as key catalysts towards building an attractive health insurance scheme.”

Gakunju was last week opening the AAR City Centre Clinic located on Eco Bank Plaza on Parliament Avenue in Kampala.

The AAR Uganda general manager, Mark Achola, noted that the level of health insurance appreciation will grow if public awareness improved.

“With Uganda’s insurance industry growth estimated at 30%, the expansion seems inevitable as people’s confidence in healthcare insurance is growing.
“This has opened up a lot of opportunities,” he said.

However, with only less than 1% of the estimated 33 million Ugandans insured, Achola named lack of prioritisation as the major hindrances to the industry growth.

AAR intends to open clinics in Gulu, Mbale, Mbarara, and Jinja.
Plans are also underway to expand to smaller towns upcountry in Arua, Lira, and Soroti.

“Our major focus is to put in place enough facilities where people can access medical care because we realise that there are so many private players alongside the Government, but the facilities in place are not yet enough to cover a population of over 35 million people,” Achola said.

By David Ssempijja: The New Vision News Paper

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