Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The Ethiopian health care system is under tremendous reform. One of the top issues on the agenda is health care financing.
In an effort to protect citizens from the catastrophic effects of the high share of out of pocket expenditure, the government is currently working to introduce health insurance in Ethiopia. Although there are indications of increased access to medicines with the implementation of health care financing reforms, there is no clear evidence on the effects on access to essential medicines, which shows a clear need for research in the area.
In the article: “Health Care Financing in Ethiopia: Implications on Access to Essential Medicines,” published in Value in Health Regional Issues, author, Eskinder Eshetu Ali, BPharm, MSc, a lecturer at the School of Pharmacy, Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia aimed to highlight the components of the Ethiopian health care financing reform and discuss its implications on access to essential medicines.
The main reforms in health care financing in Ethiopia included: revenue retention by health facilities; systematizing the fee waiver system; standardizing exemption services; outsourcing of nonclinical services; user fee setting and revision; initiation of compulsory health insurance (community based health insurance and social health insurance); establishment of a private wing in public hospitals; and health facility autonomy. There was limited data on the effect of these financing reforms on access to essential medicines.
Ali states, “There is limited evidence on the effect of health care financing programs in many developing countries and Ethiopia is not an exception. This review strengthens the ongoing call for research on the effect of health insurance and other health care financing programs on access to essential medicines.”