Rwanda: Urban Refugees to Get Health Insurance

Refugees who don't live in camps will, beginning September this year, get access to health insurance coverage, the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) has said.

The development follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between MINEMA, Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on June 25, 2019.

Speaking to The New Times, Jean Claude Twishime, Public Relations and Communications Officer at MINEMA said that the move was in line with the implementation of the 2015 commitments that Rwanda made including providing them with refugee IDs and passports, supporting them with development projects, as well as integrating them in the national health insurance scheme.

He noted that the project will benefit 12,045 urban refugees who are in Rwanda, as well as 1780 student refugees staying in boarding schools and universities across Rwanda.

He indicated that the UNHCR would be contributing Rwf 7,000 for each refugee to be enrolled in the Community Health Insurance Scheme - Mutuelle de Santé. Over Rwf96 million has been allocated for the purpose this year (2019).

Such refugees, he explained, are considered as a special group because they are not considered in Ubudehe - Rwanda's classification of citizens depending on their economic status - because their economic profiles are not documented in the country.

"We have partners, health posts and health centres that help us treat refugees in camps. But, imagine a refugee who is in Kigali and has to pay for a shelter, as well as other needs including education," he said, adding that the health sector is an aspect that should be given more priority.

He said that the government has embarked on refugee inclusion in terms of economic development so that they start enjoying services that all the citizens are entitled to.

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