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New tools to improve access to healthcare services for Africa’s worst-off

Guest blog by Valéry Ridde,  from the Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Centre de recherche du CHUM-Unité de Santé Internationale, Institut de recherche en sciences de la santé/CNRST.

What can be done to ensure that the poorest Africans have access to a healthcare system that charges user fees? Many options have been proposed to address this situation, but currently the decision-makers involved have little or no access to these. To support them in their reflection, a team of researchers from the University of Montreal, with support from the international NGO HELP (Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V.), has produced a thorough compilation of all current knowledge on this subject, in four bilingual (English and French) policy briefs. These policy briefs, which will be distributed during November 2009 in Burkina Faso, are available free online.

Solutions are possible!

These four bilingual (English and French) policy briefs present four options that have been shown to promote access to care : abolition of user fees for healthcare services, case-by-case exemptions for the worst-off , health equity funds , and health insurance that includes coverage for the poor. The objective of this project is to give leaders and decision makers a comprehensive overview of action that has already been undertaken to evaluate what options are best suited to their context.

Made for Africa, with Africa
With the assistance of an international NGO (HELP – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V.), consultations were carried out in Burkina Faso to strengthen the relevance of these policy briefs. Starting in November, these four documents will be distributed in Burkina Faso as part of a HELP project that will test a trial of user fees abolition. They will also be available on the website of the Teasdale-Corti team.

The research team

The work of this research team at the International Health Unit (Unité de santé internationale – USI) of the University of Montreal / CRCHUM , is focused on vulnerability and equity in health in Africa. The team,  directed by Valéry Ridde, Ph.D. is part of Canada’s Teasdale-Corti Global Health Research Partnership Program. Production of these documents was funded by CIHR, ECHO (the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office), and the Teasdale-Corti Program (CIHR, IDRC, Health Canada, CIDA, PHAC).

Maryève Tassot, Communications Officer
International Health Unit (University of Montreal/CHUM)
20 Years of Partnership for Global Health
Tel.: ( 514) 890-8000,  ext. 16340

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