14 November 2018

Cameroon: Universal Health Coverage - MPs Familarise With System

A forum to introduce parliamentarians to the scheme which seeks to provide health care and financial protection to all citizens took place yesterday at the National Assembly.

Members of Parliament have been thoroughly briefed on a Universal Health Coverage (UHC) plan the government intends putting in place on the instructions of the Head of State, Paul Biya. The familarisation exercise took place during a forum for parliamentarians organised at the National Assembly on Tuesday November 13, 2018.

The forum organised on the initiative of the National Assembly's Commission of Cultural, Social and Family Affairs, in collaboration with the National Social Insurance Fund, saw the participation of MPs, members of government as well as health and social insurance specialists. During the forum, different speakers took turns to explain the scheme which seeks to provide health care and financial protection to all citizens across the country. Going by the Senior Vice Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Hilarion Etong, who presided at the forum, the Head of State had prescribed the acceleration of the process.

He called on experts to put their knowhow at the service of MPs, noting that they could be called up at any time to clarify the members of parliament more on the scheme. Cameroon Tribune learned a bill relating to the Universal Health Coverage plan is yet to be submitted to parliament.

According to the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, it is since 2015 that a national technical group was put in place for the elaboration of the scheme. The Minister higlightted the progress that has been made so far. "We have arrived at a final validation stage.

It is now an issue of drafting the legal framework," Mama Fouda disclosed. He noted that selection of some of the items which the scheme will cover has been done. To Noel Alain Olivier Mekulu Mvondo Akame, Director General of the National Social Insurance Fund, the health care system will be best put in place progressively. As regards financing, the Director General noted that field studies will be carried out to determine precisely how much people can contribute, in order to make it sustainable.

The World Health Organisation says at least half of the world's population still does not have full coverage of essential health services and about 100 million people are still being pushed into "extreme poverty" because they have to pay for health care. The putting in place of a Universal Health Coverage has been a priority for President Paul Biya, with him recalling the need in some of his public addresses. While addressing the nation on December 31, 2017, he Head of State said:

"Our country's health map is getting denser each year, with the construction of about one hundred health centres, subdivisional medical centres and district hospitals. We will continue our efforts to provide quality and universal health care to our population."

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