Community health insurance scheme credited for reducing child mortality

Community-based health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de santé, is credited for reducing mortality rates, according a new global report. Community health insurance now covers over 90 per cent of the population.
 School children take milk in Bugesera District. Making milk available to children is one of the factors that have helped fight child mortality. File
School children take milk in Bugesera District. Making milk available to children is one of the factors that have helped fight child mortality. File

Community-based health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de santé, is credited for reducing mortality rates, according a new global report. Community health insurance now covers over 90 per cent of the population.

With 70 per cent of mothers giving birth under health care, the Ending Newborn Deaths report released on Tuesday ranked Rwanda top in the region in curbing child mortality.

The report was commissioned by Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation that works in over 120 countries to save children’s lives.

Ethiopia was ranked the worst performer in the region with just 10 per cent of mothers having access to such care. Kenya was at 43.8 per cent, Tanzania 48.9 per cent, while Uganda and Burundi were both at 60 per cent.

The report also noted that 51 per cent of births in Sub-Saharan Africa are not attended by a qualified health care professional, leading to an increase in mortality cases.

Under the community insurance scheme that was rolled out in 2006, half the funding comes from membership premiums while the remaining is subsidised by the government.

The report noted that the premium payments have been progressive over the years, including exempting the poor from having to pay medical bills.   

“Studies have shown positive impact following the introduction of Mutuelle de Santé including increases in the health service coverage. For example, skilled birth attendance increased from 39 per cent in 2000 to 67 per cent in 2008. In 2010, around 70 per cent of the women had a skilled health worker present while giving birth. Health outcomes have improved as a consequence with the under five mortality now nearly one-third of what it was in 1990,” the report notes.

Speaking last week during the launch of a food and nutrition conference, the Minister for Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, said Rwanda had registered tremendous progress in reducing mortality rates of children under five years.

She noted that the holistic approaches employed by the government and, more specifically in the first 1,000 days campaign, have helped the country fight child mortality.

 

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