UR Students fail to get medical cards

Students at Gikondo complain about the delay of medical cards

Some UR students who paid for medical insurance two years ago have not yet received them and fear for their health if they fall sick.

The UR medical insurance, which costs seven thousands Rwandans francs, is a requirement to all students who apply to study at the University of Rwanda in order for each student to have proper medical care in all district hospitals within the period of studying so that any sickness can’t disallow students to carry on with their studies and finish them in due time.

However, some students complain that it takes them so long time waiting to get their insurance cards and they fear for their lives as when they can be attacked by illness without an insurance to help them get medications in early stages of their sickness.

Mugisha Esther, who is completing her second year in Journalism and Communication admits that their lives are in a big risk and that the necessity of emergency treatment requires medical insurance to be available when needed.

‘’It is so risky to live without a permanent medical insurance card, we can fall ill anytime and sometimes medical treatment are so emergency and the medical insurance have to be revealed in exact time to get necessary treatment in due time and without spending much money while you bought the insurance to help you reducing the costs.’’ Said Mugisha.

Niyonkuru Olivier, another student in UR, can’t imagine how possibly it could take such a long time.

‘’We paid for these insurances among other requirements right before we get into campus, then they took some pictures to use in the cards and we were promised that sooner enough we could hold our medical cards, but yet it took two years and we are still waiting.’’ Explained Niyonkuru.

‘’I am only left with one year to study and yet I have not received my medical card yet. Luckily we survived illness but it was a big gamble to play with, now we really want to know what’s going on with these cards or what else we are required to do.’’ He added.

The university authority offers permission papers to support all students who might need medical insurances without medical cards. These papers are signed on by the head of medical department in the campus and they are guaranteed for a month which can be renewed.However, Runyange Yves who is doing Computer Science doesn’t think it is enough and that ‘these temporarily papers aren’t what they need because of their nature and their complicated manner to get and use them,’

We tried to speak to the medical department about the issue but they refused to give us formal interview. Though, we managed to get information from anonymous sources which explain why it took so long to get these medical cards.

In one informal interview, we were told that ‘there were changes in the way students got their medical cards, the changes were meant to quicken the process of delivering the cards and to restructure the whole system of medical insurance department as it was entering in the technological sphere from manual sphere.’

These changes though are the main causes why some cards, sometimes of the same school or college, were missing or had some other problems. However, the period of adjusting to these changes is thought to be over and there is a big believe that in the coming years, the problems regarding medical insurance cards will be solved permanently and that the new system will be easy, cheap and better in use that the last one.

The delay of medical insurance cards took a maximum of two years for some students while it only took few months for others. The medical department requires students to be patient and try their best to exploit available possibilities whenever they are sick or need medical insurance cards. The department also advice students who haven’t got their insurance cards to visit their offices in all campus to check if their cards were done and are available.

Emmanuel NDAHAYO-Kaminuza Star