Community-Based Health Insurance: Helping Ethiopians Access Health Care
- Poor health-care financing is a major challenge for Ethiopia’s health system
- Abt provided technical support for a community-based health insurance pilot
- By March 2017, 14.5 million people had community-based health insurance
Poor health-care financing is a major challenge for Ethiopia’s health system. Households, especially those working in the informal sector, are vulnerable to impoverishment from catastrophic health expenditures. Inadequate financing also limits the poor’s access to essential health services. Barriers to improved health-care financing include:
- Low government spending on the health sector
- Strong reliance on out-of-pocket expenditures
- Inefficient and inequitable utilization of resources
- Poorly harmonized and unpredictable donor funding
Abt has been the lead partner supporting Ethiopia’s implementation of health-care financing reforms both at all government levels and at health-facility levels. Abt provided technical support for a community-based health insurance (CBHI) pilot in 13 woredas. That led to a national program targeting 80 percent of Ethiopia’s informal sector. Abt held workshops on the benefits of health insurance for the media and worked with the Ethiopian Health Insurance Agency on media campaigns to raise community and stakeholder awareness.
The Abt team trained 3,301 health-facility staff on CBHI-related topics and oriented 15,564 government officials at all levels on the program. So far 227 woredas have established CBHI schemes and 123 others are preparing for such schemes. Evaluations showed CBHI members used health services almost twice as much as the national average and were 26 percent more likely to seek care when sick compared with non-members. As of March 2017, 14.5 million people had CBHI.