Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) is planning the inclusion of Covid-19 tests in different health insurance schemes, The New Times has learned.
The consideration comes at a time when the demand for Covid-19 tests in the country is increasing, particularly because medics look at it (testing) as one of the principal ways of preventing the spread of the virus among Rwanda’s population.
Currently, more people are going for testing, partly because without negative Covid-19 results within a specified time, one cannot be allowed access to a number of activities, for example travelling, attending particular conferences, staying in a hotel, taking part in professional sports games, among others.
In recent weeks, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has been putting in more effort to improve citizens’ access to the testing services.
For instance, with effect from December 17, MoH cleared private clinics to start testing patients for the coronavirus using antigen rapid tests.
Efforts are underway to soon avail the same services in public health centres, as information from RBC shows that distribution of rapid diagnostic tests to such facilities started last week, and has continued even during this week.
Going forward, RBC has now presented the prospect of including the tests into insurance schemes, as the country looks to further improve access.
“It is not something that we are going to do right away, but it is in our plans. In our near future phases, we want to make it part of the screening or tests that are already part of this scheme (insurance),” said Dr Sabin Nsanzimana the Director-General of RBC.
He noted that his institution is keeping an eye on the developments that are unfolding in the world including the vaccine as well as other public health measures, but he emphasized testing as a key tool that Rwanda can be using as more solutions continue to come in.
Meanwhile, for the soon upcoming tests to be administered at health centres, it should be noted they will be given free of charge, though the beneficiaries will be required to meet some criteria, among which: they (beneficiaries) should have been close contacts of a positive case; or they are patients themselves requiring a follow-up test.
In private clinics, currently, the cost of a single test should not go above Rwf10,000. This is in regard to an agreement that RBC reached with private clinics concerning the prices of tests.
So far, there is a list of 42 private clinics countrywide that RBC accredited to start testing people, using antigen rapid tests.