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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
01 juli 2006

Health insurance for poor people in Africa

The new insurance is intended for low-income groups such as women groups, farmers organisations, uninsured workers, students, and people with a micro loan. The premium depends on their income. Coverage is based on the solidarity principle.
Prior to the UN meeting on the fight against poverty last year, Dutch 'captains of industry' (like Heineken, Shell and Unilever) met with the Dutch Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation to discuss a joint approach to tackle the increasing number of African people dying of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Diseases that can be treated, provided that people can afford it. And provided that the capacity of African hospitals and medical staff is upgraded. Expansion of the capacity and a sustainable organisation of healthcare are of crucial importance. Research by both the World Bank and the World Health Organisation has shown that the implementation of a health insurance fund is essential for a properly functioning healthcare system in Africa. At the launching ceremony this week the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation, mrs. Agnes van Ardenne, said: "Thanks to this initiative many people in low-income groups can obtain basic health insurance. Thousands of lives can thus be saved. Lives of people that are needed to provide for their families and to develop their own country."
The kick-off of the HIF insurance will be in Nigeria, with pilot projects concerning an association of local market women and a group of female working mechanics in Lagos, and a farming community in Kwara State. Later the insurance will be expanded to several South and East African countries. Eventually, some 230,000 people will be insured for basic healthcare, including anti-AIDS medication, TB and Malaria treatment.
The Dutch Ministry for Development Cooperation donates 100 million Euro for the coming six years. The Dutch insurance companies Aegon, Achmea and SNS Reaal will each contribute 1.5 million Euro to a private investment fund that invests in local insurers and organisations involved in the programs. The Dutch foundation PharmAccess assists in a proper execution of the projects. This organisation, striving for access to HIV/AIDS care in the context of general healthcare in poor regions, has extensive experience in setting up and monitoring healthcare projects in Africa for employees of large multinationals and their relatives. The accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers will be involved in the financial surveillance of the insurance.

P+ Webtip: Pharmaccess
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