Mutuelle de Sante subscribers allege discrimination

Friday February 13 2015

By VENUSTE MFITIMANA, RT Special Correspondent

Members of the community health insurance scheme Mutuelle de Sante have accused government hospitals and pharmacies of forcing them to buy “expensive” medicine in private shops.

Despite the Ministry of Health insisting that all Rwandans have equal access to affordable healthcare through the programme, Mutuelle de Sante members claim they are discriminated against compared with subscribers to other health insurance schemes.

They say it is unfair to discriminate patients based on the category of their health schemes yet all deserve quality treatment and healthcare in health centres and district hospitals.

Peter Nkurunziza told Rwanda Today earlier this month that when he went to “Kwanyiranuma” health centre in Nyarugenge district and was diagnosed with malaria, the doctor told him to buy medication at a private pharmacy.

“They told me to buy the drugs at a private pharmacy yet I had paid for health insurance,” said Mr Nkurunziza, whose claim was echoed by several other members of the scheme.

Using his card, he should have paid 15 per cent of the Rfw4,500 that he spent.

Theogene Kubwimana said that before he retired from teaching he was using Rwanda Health Insurance Scheme (Rama) and it was accorded more value. He said he would be given better treatment than subscribers of Mutuelle de Santé.

Minister for Health Dr Agnes Binagwaho however dismissed the allegations as untrue.

“We don’t have any problem of medicines in any health centre or hospital in our country,” she said. “We do not know why some people are not given the medicines they deserve.

“Should you encounter such a case, call us on our toll-free number 114 for assistance.”