Medical Debt Relief / Rwanda

Rwanda has a well-recognised community-based health insurance programme, so how does our medical debt relief programme still make a difference?

04/24/2024 12:38pm

All Rwandans have had access to the Mutuelles de Sante, the local community-based health insurance since 1999. Rwandans are charged an annual premium based on their socio-economic status, which is divided into 4 different categories. The insurance prices range from $2.40 to $8.19 per person. 

Rwanda Community healthcare Insurance

This may seem affordable, but as of 2016, 52% of people in Rwanda live under the international poverty line of $2.15 (World Bank, 2023). Although people in Category 1 do not have to pay for the insurance, it only covers 90% of the treatment cost including essential drugs and medical services. Furthermore, Category 1 only makes up a small percentage of the 52% of people who live under the international poverty line, meaning many people in Category 2 will still find the insurance to be unaffordable. Additionally, patients across all categories will have to spend out of pocket for factors like transportation to appointments, hospital fees and additional costs such as food during hospital stays. 

Our Medical Debt Relief Project helps people in Category 2 pay the remaining costs that are not covered by their insurance. In addition, many patients that are referred to the hospitals we work with are those who need treatments requiring specialist medical doctors and treatments [e.g. surgical intervention, dental care, CT scans, laboratory tests, eye treatment, dialysis etc], which cost much more than an insurance payout.

Medical Debt Relief Project Success Story

Ginna Ishmwe, a 7-year-old girl, has been suffering from sickle cell anaemia for 5 years. As a result, she visits our partner hospital several times a month for blood transfusions, and often has to be put on oxygen due to breathing problems. 

Ginna and her mother, Odette, were abandoned by her father a while ago, making Odette a single mother. Although she used to own a small tailoring business, the sewing machine had to be sold in order to cover Ginna’s medical expenses. Our Medical Debt Relief Project meant Ginna’s medical bills were cleared, and regular transportation could be provided to assist Odette and Ginna in travelling to their hospital.

“Caring alone for a child with a serious sickness, and visiting the hospital almost five times a month incurred substantial expenses that I couldn’t manage. Thanks to Doctors Worldwide and their medical debt relief project, I can now focus on generating some income again’’

– Odette 

Donate Now: Rwanda Medical Debt Relief Project 

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