By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. State minister for Heath (General Duties) has clarified on media reports that government intends to enforce a proposal for only National Identity Card (ID) holders to enjoy healthcare services at public health facilities.
While addressing a concern from Henry Kibalya (Bugabula South) over the matter on the floor of Parliament, minister Sarah Opendi said that the plan is to use National IDs for accessing medical assistance is only work in progress and will only be achieved in the future as government plans to enroll national health insurance scheme.
“This is for the future and not now. It is not something that is supposed to take place now. It will only happen after Parliament has considered the national insurance scheme which we have not even presented to Cabinet. But the draft is ready and we are waiting for a chance to present it to Cabinet, then we bring it to Parliament and once the law is enacted then the issue of National IDs can apply,” Opendi said.
This comes after Health minister Jane Aceng on Monday was quoted by the Daily Monitor saying that they are setting up a digital system with inbuilt mechanism to, among other things, enable pharmacies not to dispense drugs to patients without IDs.
On the other hand, State minister of Internal Affairs Obiga Kania retorted that there was no need to deny any person public services considering that not everybody has a National ID.
“It is true we have not registered all Ugandans, it is also true that we have not registered all students. So, the application and use of these IDs for obtaining services is entirely another matter and not in the hands of the ministry of Internal Affairs. So, the departments and ministries which are or want to deny services to the people because of identities obviously are doing it out of context because we agreed we have not registered everybody. So, at this stage, you cannot say some Ugandans without National IDs should not be served,” Obiga said.
He added, “Our plan for students is that as soon as they report back to school and budgetary allocations are completed, we will be re-registering all the students in the schools. Meanwhile, we will also be opening up all the stations at the district level for the people to be able to move from the district to register at the sub county level.”