Community health insurance (CHI) is an innovative tool for providing financial protection and facilitating access to health services for poor rural populations in middle- and low-income countries.
Within the framework of the different types of community prepayment schemes that can be implemented in limited-resource settings, CUAMM conducted a feasibility study in the rural district of Oyam, Uganda, from October to December 2016 in order to assess the practicality of implementing a CHI scheme there.
We surveyed 180 households to investigate the key factors impacting the community’s access to health services. In addition to demographic and socio-economic parameters, we analyzed morbidity statistics, people’s behavior in the event of illness and maternity, the methods they used to cover health care expenses, their degree of ability and willingness to take part in a CHI scheme and the pre-existence in the area of mutual aid groups. We also carried out 40 interviews with key technical and political authorities from the district to explore the role that community leaders might play in implementing such a scheme.
Through our analysis of the data collected we were able to verify the presence of key feasibility factors for launching a micro-insurance scheme in the area. Health care seemed to be quite important for the community, which was also well aware of the heavy cost of accessing it. Its members found the quality of the services provided by local health facilities to be acceptable, and trusted the health workers providing them.
Our study, therefore, demonstrated how a well-designed micro-insurance scheme could serve as a viable tool for expanding access to health care and offering financial protection to local communities such as the one in Oyam.