The role of community based health insurance in reducing out of pocket health expenditure was the theme of an online panel discussion on Tuesday 15 February 2023 organised by the Nkafu Policy, a think tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation.
The panel was made up of Health Experts and researchers, who seek to better insurance scheme in the private sector and most essentially communities. The insurance schemes help the government to finance health care, improve access to health care services and promote universal health coverage. Despite the several private health insurance schemes in Cameroon, solely 36.1% have access to the health center.
The overall objective is to highlight the role of community- based health insurance schemes in healthcare financing in Cameroon. Community based health insurance is a form of insurance that is characterized by community members pooling funds to balance the cost of healthcare. In 2019, out of pocket health expenditure was at 72.5% signifying poor healthcare financing and makes one question the role of insurance in the country.
Dr. Sangwe Clovis Nchinjoh, a public health doctor and also an expert in public health and trainer of rural doctors, hosted yesterday, February 15, 2023, a webinar on “the role of community health insurance in reducing personal health spending“. During these exchanges with panellists, the doctor explained that in Cameroun, about 7% of the population has health insurance.
“I think we don’t communicate enough on the issue of health insurance in Cameroun because the health system is somewhat flu-like. It must also be said that people do not have enough means and the little money they have is intended for their personal nutrition, “explained Dr. Sangwe Clovis Nchinjoh.
Dr. Sangwe Clovis Nchinjoh proposes that the implementation of the said system be done gradually. “The government can start by implementing this system on children or pregnant women and gradually expanding it to the rest of the population. These are the things that have been observed elsewhere,” explains the doctor.
The panelist eventually evoke a problem of culture with the Cameroonians. The young and old were not raised nor educated to include and insurance scheme as a lifetime companion. This alone accounts for a high peak in poor health as many are unconscious on the possibility to save up in case of health damages.
So far, little or nothing is done to ameliorate the role of community health insurances in Cameroon. The panel suggest that social politics should embrace this critical condition and inculcate it into society’s culture. Only 36% of the population have access to health facilities , of which most of these people are in rural areas. The government is called upon to decentralize health structures to permit access to hospitals.