By Shout-Africa Correspondent – Three conventions were signed with the District Hospital of Cité des Palmiers, Douala V Municipality and the local community during its first ordinary assembly July 19.
Community health insurance schemes are growing in importance in low-income settings, where health systems based on user fees have resulted in significant barriers to care for the poorest members of communities. In Cameroon, plans are underway to introduce a national Social Health Insurance scheme.
The creation of the government-initiated Mutual Community of the Health District of Cité des Palmiers, MUSADI, by the community of Douala V in 2009, to promote healthcare for its beneficiaries, poor and destitute people falls in line with government’s effort to attain 40% healthy population, probably before 2015.
MUSADI pays upto 75% of all medical expenses incurred by beneficiaries and members under agreement with the health facilities. MUSADI President, Augustin Tiomela, pointed out that MUSADI is a micro-insurance community business working in response to the objectives of the Ministry of Public Health and with the help of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) through the Special Fund for Health Promotion in the Littoral.
Although levels of participation in such schemes like MUSADI compare favourably with international experience, they remain relatively low due to a lack of affordability and a package of primary care that does not include coverage for chronic disease. However, such a scheme presents a workable model for investing in primary health care in resource-poor settings.
As at present, the micro-insurance has 558 registered members with 658 beneficiaries and a total FCFA 2,847,000. Following conventions so far signed, health structures like HDCP, ADLUCEM Bonamoussadi, Logpom Catholic Hospital and CMA de Bonamoussadi, it is clear the micro-insurance is strongly at work to promote healthcare and at an affordable cost too.
Wednesday’s general assembly was opportunity for the Douala V Council, community members and the District Hospital of Cité des Palmiers to join the bandwagon. The three conventions signed are the convention with the District Hospital covering health risk for 80% of the hospital’s personnel. The convention with the Douala V Council covers 200 households of the council’s staff, while the convention with the community of Douala V covers 100 poor and destitute families.
The program aims to make healthcare available to more members of the community and to achieve a better insurance coverage including more of the poor and disadvantaged groups and in particular the informal sector. Though they increase revenue, access and financial protection, concerns have been expressed about the equity of such schemes and their ability to reach the poorest.
In attendance was Mayor Françoise Foning of Douala V municipal area, Douala V D.O., Jean Marc Ekoa, and Director of Cité des Palmiers District Hospital, Dr. Zam Ngono, community members, and other local and administrative authorities.