Cameroon:Govt concerting with private sector over universal health coverage

Business owners and other entrepreneurs of the private sector say they are resolute in assisting government put in place sustainable…

Business owners and other entrepreneurs of the private sector say they are resolute in assisting government put in place sustainable universal health coverage.

During a meeting with the Minister of Public Health, Dr Malachie Manouda, in Douala on Friday, February 26, the businessmen discussed the various ways they can effectively ensure the health of their staff at acceptable rates.

Opening discussions last weekend in Douala, the Minister of Public Health underlined the importance of the employers’ union in the setting up of the Universal Health Coverage, given that they have developed within them health insurance policies, including experiences in their management which deserve to be used.

He also added that the aim of the meeting is to present, to the actors of the private sector, the methodical preparation and the inclusive approach envisaged. The aim is for employers’ unions to be able to discuss with workers for future contributions. He also pointed out that the quality of Universal Health Coverage will also depend on the contribution of workers of the private sector.

During the meeting, two presentations were made on the general modalities of the Universal Health Coverage and the main principles on which its funding will be based.

The Director of Health Promotion at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Fanne Mahamat, explained the Universal Health Coverage as a mechanism that allows the entire population to have access to quality health services without causing financial hardship for users.

The three objectives of UHC were broken down: equitable access to health care, quality of services and financial protection of users. She said it is about implementing a national solidarity mechanism that will improve the coverage rate of the population in terms of essential health services. The data mobilized for the occasion show that the coverage of health services is 45.9% in Cameroon and health expenditure for households represents about 70%. As the work progresses, Dr. Fanne added that 146 start-up interventions constitute the basket of care for UHC.

The second presentation done by Isaac Richard Ngolle, Technical Adviser at the Ministry of Finance focused on the principles that govern the finacing of the Universal Health Coverage.

He said the principles are organized into five points which are sustainability (which includes financial autonomy and the stability of sources of financing), non-aggravation of tax burdens (no new taxes), reallocation (of tax deductions and budgetary allocations ), the substitute contribution (to reorient the contribution of employees to a capped amount) and universality (taking into account the indigent and the financing of the State).

During the phase reserved for general discussions, the Minister of Public Health that the construction of data centers for the management and conservation of data is around 80% of the work and order has already been placed for equipment. The employers association represented by Gicam, Mecam, Ecam, among others, focused their concerns more on the amount to be deducted from workers, and the impact it could have on their salaries. However, the suspicion of a possible corporate tax was a moment of heated discussion, as was the concern about access to medicines.

Rounding off the meeting, the Minister reassured the employers’ associations that further consultations will be held with them before the Universal Health Coverage goes operational.

He added that the primary goal of UHC is to prevent people from getting sick. This is why emphasis is placed on intensifying health promotion actions. In addition, discussions are underway on restructuring the drug supply system. At the same time, the government is concerned about the issue of industrialization of the pharmacy sector. He called on employers’ organizations to take ownership of this UHC in order to help improve the health system of the country.