A panel discussion on Health Insurance was held on Wednesday 31st August 2022, at the Muna Foundation, Yaounde. The Nkafu Policy, a think tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation organized this sitting where challenges and recommendations were highlighted to provide favorable health conditions.
The event brought together health researchers, civil society organizations,private health insurance companies and policy makers, who seek to better insurance scheme in the private sector. The insurance schemes help the government to finance health care, improve access to health care services and promote universal health coverage. Despite the several private health insurance schemes in Cameroon, solely 36.1% have access to the health center.
A panelist, Item Gustave, Head of the Health department at Alliance Insurance explains that, Cameroon faces lots of challenges so far as insurance is concerned and most especially the health sector. He hits on the communication plan used by these private insurance companies and the government. The population barely knows what health insurance is all about, it importance or benefit. The lay man estimates it is a policy structured only for the elites.
The panelist eventually evoke a problem of culture with the Cameroonians. The young and old were not raised nor educated to include and insurance scheme as a lifetime companion. This alone accounts for a high peak in poor health as many are unconscious on the possibility to save up in case of health damages.
Meanwhile, M.Eyono Esono, vision bearer of a major insurance company in Cameroon stands for the fact that ” Insurances are for the Elite class”. The business man affirms private insurance companies focus solely on profit gained and not on social welfare, ” Social welfare remains a task up to the government, let each body play its role, we the private sector set the bar for those who can afford and let the government through firms like CNPS work on the betterment of the people”.
President Paul Biya in 2015 prescribed CNPS must cover up to 20% of the population by 2022. Today , the social insurance firm accounts only for 2%. M.Benge, a CNPS representative stipulates that those who opt for the health insurance policy fall under the voluntary contribution where you decide on what amount of money to save monthly or yearly. On the other hand, the state obliges all employers to register all employees where 8.4% of salaries will be cut monthly, this portion will then be used either as retirement pension or as health saving should in case a worker gets sick or an accident due to professional constraints. This structure does not have an exclusive pack on health insurance, something the state needs to look into.
So far, little or nothing is done to ammeliorate the role of health insurances in Cameroon. The panel suggest that social politics should embrace this critical condition and inculcate it into society’s culture. Only 36% of the population have access to health facilities , of which most of these people are in Urban areas. The government is called upon to decentralize health structures to permit access to hospitals. By so doing, insurances will survey such areas to capture more clients.