Community Financing of Health Care in Africa: An evaluation of the Bamako Initiative

Health Economics and Financing Programme, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, U.K.
Social Science & Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 06/1993; 36(11):1383-1395. DOI: 10.1016/0277-9536(93)90381-D
Source: RePEc


The Bamako Initiative, a controversial attempt to strengthen Primary Health Care using community financing and community participation and management was launched at a meeting of African Ministers of Health in 1987. This evaluation focuses particularly on the community financing aspects of the Initiative. Previous experiences of community financing highlight particular lessons for the development of the Initiative and issues likely to be encountered in implementation attempts. Four country case studies of the Initiative at its early stages of implementation (in June, July and August 1991) were conducted in Burundi, Guinea, Kenya, and Nigeria. Similar activities in Uganda were also studied. These were short studies of one month each and utilised methods of rapid evaluation. The studies aimed to direct implementers quickly to issues requiring attention rather than to reach overall conclusions regarding the success of the Initiative which would be premature at this stage. Price structures used by the Initiative need to consider the access of marginalised groups more than is the case at present. In addition, there is a need to ensure against over-prescription and commercialisation and to ensure that incentives for utilising most appropriate levels of care are maintained. The evidence suggests that most people do find amounts of money to pay for health services which are large in relation to their income. This is probably a tribute to extensive community support mechanisms. Nevertheless, it highlights the plight of those who fall through this safety net for whom even charges for very basic care may be prohibitive. On the other hand, it appears that in most cases, the Initiative's activities provide a service which is cheaper when all costs to the household are taken into account, than was available before. The quality of services included in the Initiative's activities in the five countries was highly variable. Success in raising substantial revenues has also been mixed. In some countries however, substantial funds have been generated and used to achieve real improvements in health services. Overall, the experiences of the five countries appear to have been highly dependent on a number of 'environmental' characteristics: a tradition or not of 'free' services; the adequacy of current resource availability and that immediately preceding the introduction of the Initiative; the existing stage and nature of decentralisation within the country; and the competition the Initiative's activities face with alternatives.

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    • "While the ultimate goal remained unreached, the Bamako initiative did provide a justification for cost recovery for decades to come. For a critical early evaluation of the Bamako initiative, see [93]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lack of access to health care is a persistent condition for most African indigents, to which the common technical approach of targeting initiatives is an insufficient antidote. To overcome the standstill, an integrated technical and political approach is needed. Such policy shift is dependent on political support, and on alignment of international and national actors. We explore if the analytical framework of social exclusion can contribute to the latter. We produce a critical and evaluative account of the literature on three themes: social exclusion, development policy, and indigence in Africa--and their interface. First, we trace the concept of social exclusion as it evolved over time and space in policy circles. We then discuss the relevance of a social exclusion perspective in developing countries. Finally, we apply this perspective to Africa, its indigents, and their lack of access to health care. The concept of social exclusion as an underlying process of structural inequalities has needed two decades to find acceptance in international policy circles. Initial scepticism about the relevance of the concept in developing countries is now giving way to recognition of its universality. For a variety of reasons however, the uptake of a social exclusion perspective in Africa has been limited. Nevertheless, social exclusion as a driver of poverty and inequity in Africa is evident, and manifestly so in the case of the African indigents. The concept of social exclusion provides a useful framework for improved understanding of origins and persistence of the access problem that African indigents face, and for generating political space for an integrated approach.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · International Journal for Equity in Health
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    • "In Ukraine where, in 2009, 16.1% of the population did not earn a living wage [12], and 14.4% of the population live below the national poverty line, it is likely that the effect of OPP for IHD on patient households is great [12,15]. An earlier analysis of the 1996 Income Expenditure Survey found that approximately 3.9% of households in Ukraine engage in catastrophic health spending for health care generally [8]; however, this study did not address alternative mechanisms used by households to finance OPP, such as borrowing and sale of assets, which are common methods of coping with OPP in other countries [16-22]. Failure to consider such coping mechanisms can lead to an overestimate of the effect of OPP on household consumption in the short-term (because it ignores the increase in income from alternative sources), but an underestimate of the longer term impoverishing impact from indebtedness or the loss of returns on assets and savings [20,22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and their prevalence in lower- and middle-income countries (LMIC) is on the rise. The burden of chronic health expenditure born by patient households in these countries may be very high, particularly where out-of-pocket payments for health care are common. One such country where out-of-pocket payments are especially high is Ukraine. The financial impact of NCDs on households in this country has not been researched. Methods We set out to explore the burden of NCD care in Ukraine with a study of angina patients. Using data from the Ukraine World Health Survey of 2003 we employed the novel Coarsened Exact Matching approach to estimate the difference in out-of-pocket payment (OPP) for health care between households with a stable angina pectoris (a chronic form of IHD) patient and those without. The likelihood of engaging in catastrophic spending and using various distress financing mechanisms (e.g. sale of assets, borrowing) among angina households compared with non-angina households was also explored. Results Among angina patient households (n = 203), OPP occupied an average of 32% of household effective income. After matching, angina households experienced significantly higher monthly per capita OPP for health care (B = $2.84) and medicines (B = $2.94), but were not at significantly higher odds of engaging in catastrophic spending. Odds of engaging in ‘sale of assets’ (OR = 2.71) and ‘borrowing’ (OR = 1.68) to finance OPP were significantly higher among angina households. Conclusions The cost of chronic care in Ukraine places a burden on individual patient households. Households of angina patients are more likely to engage in distress financing to cover the cost of treatment, and a high proportion of patients do not acquire prescribed medicines because they cannot afford them. This warrants further research on the burden of NCD care in other LMIC, especially where OPP for health care is common. Health policies aimed at reducing OPP for health care, and especially medicines, would lessen the high health and financial burden of chronic care. Further research is also needed on the long-term impact of borrowing or sale of assets to finance OPP on patient households.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · International Journal for Equity in Health
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    • "In these remote communities, giving a patient a medical prescription means nothing as there are few places to buy the drugs and people seldom have resources to do so anyway. A partial solution arising from this project were the "popular pharmacies", a Bamako initiative-style [17] solution involving rotating funds for purchasing a limited range of essential drugs. "
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    ABSTRACT: Community participation was a core tenet of Primary Health Care as articulated in the 1970s. How this could be generated and maintained was less clear. This historical article describes development of protocols for evidence-based community mobilisation in five local administrative units (municipios) in the Mexican state of Guerrero between 1992 and 1995. A sample of five to eight sentinel sites represented each of the most impoverished municipalities of the poorest five of the state's seven regions. A 1992 baseline survey of diarrhoea and its actionable determinants provided the substrate for discussion with local planners and communities. Municipal planners used different strategies to promote participation. In one municipality, new health committees took control of water quality. In another, municipal authorities hired health promoters; a song promoted oral rehydration, and house-to-house interpersonal discussions promoted chlorination. In the poorest and most mountainous municipality, radio casera (home-made radio) soap operas used local "stars". In the largest and most disparate municipality, a child-to-family scheme relied on primary and secondary school teachers. The research team assessed outcomes at intervals and used the results to reinforce local planning and action. Diarrhoea rates declined in all five municipalities, and there were several positive intermediate outcomes from the communication strategies - changing knowledge, household practices and uptake of services. There was a strong link between specific contents of the communication package and the changing knowledge or practices. Apart from these evidence-based interventions, other factors probably contributed to the decline of childhood diarrhoea. But, by monitoring implementation of planning decisions and the impact this has at community level, micro-regional planning can stimulate and reinforce actions likely to improve the health of communities. The process empowered municipalities to get access to more resources from the state government and international agencies.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · BMC Health Services Research
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