The Challenge of Sustainable Health Care in Bwindi
How do poor people living in rural Africa afford the quality of health care that they need?
- They cannot rely on Government. By the time cash trickles down from the capital city much of it has been ‘lost’. Bwindi Community Hospital receives less than 1% of its funding from Government.
- They cannot afford a fee for service. User fees force payment upon those who are least able to afford to pay hospital bills, leading to catastrophic health expenditure when people have to sell assets, such as land or animals, to pay for treatment.
- They cannot rely on donors forever, as support will eventually dry up leaving the community with no health care.
eQuality Health – the solution
International Medical Foundation is working with Bwindi Community Hospital to design, implement and manage a sustainable solution to the funding of health services in Bwindi (SW Uganda). We are starting a Health Scheme called eQuality Health Bwindi.
All members of the Bwindi community have the chance to ‘subscribe’ to this scheme by making a single annual payment of UGX 6000 (£2) per person which entitles them to use Hospital Outpatient and Inpatient services including investigations, drugs and even operations at a cost of only UGX 1000 (30p) per visit. This scheme enables people to pay for health care collectively and in advance, instead of waiting until they become sick and fearing the cost of care. It protects the poor, and enables them to have some control over their health care. It also maintains high quality services for the people of the Bwindi area for the future.
eQuality Health Bwindi already has 30,000 community members who have shown an interest in the Scheme. This is a very poor region and our initial research has indicated that each member can only afford £2. Bwindi Community Hospital has estimated that the cost of care will be at least £4 and so we need to work together with sponsors and supporters of Suubi Trust to help meet the difference.
“let us heal ourselves”