Thursday, November 03, 2005

Paying in potatoes: community-based health insurance for the rural and informal sector

Paying in potatoes: community-based health insurance for the rural and informal sector" Imagine a health centre where the community contributes to the running costs with their labour. Each family provides seed potatoes and agricultural labour throughout the year to cultivate and harvest the crop in return for free access to health services. The profits from the potatoes are used to pay for essential drug stocks and bonuses of health staff. A local committee manage the scheme and, owing to their lobbying, government funds for the public services increase five-fold within 2 years. The example above, the “Caja de seguro de salud campesino Tiwanaku”, exists in the highlands of Bolivia, a country that has struggled to improve the health of its rural communities. What is remarkable is that such an arrangement is not unique. It is one of a growing number of community-based health insurance schemes in the developing world. This term describes voluntary insurance schemes based on a system of risk sharing between community members. Unlike simple payments for services, the healthy and sick contribute. In return, members receive protection from the risks of health costs should they become sick. Too many people fall into the poverty trap when ill health strikes, losing their income and exhausting their assets to pay for health care. Community-based health insurance schemes aim to prevent this." Healthcare is too important to leave upto the government. Here's an excellent example of what even poor communities can do toimprove their own health, once they decide to. All they need is the will to do so !

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Community based health insurance an be a great idea. I hope it can create a better health care system.


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