If health is a pillar of a happy, productive life then surely health insurance is a vital service. Health insurance can improve access to health care for everyone by establishing financial protection in an equitable and sustainable manner. This protection can benefit in particular vulnerable groups such as mothers, newborns and children, and the poorest of the poor.
In 2013, USAID’s Abt-led Health Finance & Governance (HFG) program evaluated Ethiopia’s community-based health insurance (CBHI) pilot program, itself a product of Abt’s work under the Health Sector Financing Reform project. We found that households that were enrolled in CBHI had increased health service utilization. In addition, households led by women were more likely to join CBHI than households led by men. In 2017, HFG examined the utilization of health services at 28 health centers and found that in regions where CBHI coverage rates are higher, health services utilization among insured women and children is considerably higher—by 14 percent for children, and by a staggering 47.5 percent for women—than among uninsured.
CBHI empowers women to make health service utilization decisions for themselves and their children which contributes to improving maternal health and child survival outcomes. Currently, over 300 districts have functional CBHI schemes and over 20 million are covered in these schemes. An additional 200 districts are in the processes of establishing CBHI schemes. Women are able to access care for themselves and their children without requesting money from men because, as CBHI members, no payment is required at the time of service. This is an example of how systemic solutions can help solve societal challenges.
For more information about HFG work in Ethiopia.