On January 22, during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, PharmAccess participated in a private session on health systems leapfrogging in emerging economies. The Nigerian National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and Ogun state government, both partners in programs supported by PharmAccess, were recognized as key contributors in leapfrogging initiatives.
Dr Olumide Okunola (Program Leader, Health in Africa Initiative, World Bank Group), Dr Pieter Walhof (Director PharmAccess International), Dr Femi Thomas (CEO National Health Insurance Scheme), Ms Edith Schippers (Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports), Dr Olaokun Soyinka (Commissioner of Health, Ogun State, Nigeria), Wim Leereveld (Executive Director, Access to Medicine Foundation)
The session, supported by the Boston Consulting Group, focused on the strategic design of health systems, including how to select, incubate and scale up those initiatives that hold the most promise. Click here for an overview of the session structure, and here to read a summary of the session.
Improving access to healthcare for the poor
Nigeria’s NHIS is introducing mobile enrolment platforms which will allow for faster, more cost-effective & convenient enrollment of clients into its health insurance programs. The NHIS has also initiated an innovative partnership with state governments in Nigeria to increase client enrolment.
| The WEF’s Health Systems Leapfrogging Initiative, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, is a three-year project that aims to reach a holistic understanding of the challenges facing emerging economies and to create strategies for building accessible, high-quality and cost-effective health systems.
The project will identify pathways that enable emerging economies to leap over problems quickly, efficiently, and with scale by avoiding the problems encountered by developed economies.
The Ogun state government’sARAYA health insurance program is another example of an effective leapfrogging approach. This program, specially designed for the poor and implemented with technical assistance by PharmAccess and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) through the African Health Markets for Equity (AHME) partnership, helps to improve access to primary healthcare for this underserved group. Through public-private partnerships, AHME creates the conditions to make leapfrogging possible.
The ARAYA health insurance program shows that:
- the poor and vulnerable can be enrolled in risk pools to improve access to primary healthcare;
- a federal system can effectively partner with the federal government to fund premiums for the poor.
Ogun demonstrated stewardship by formulating a vision defining priorities, and showing a commitment to tackle health issues in partnership with stakeholders from both demand and supply side in a public private setting.
The African Health Markets for Equity (AHME) consortium is a five-year partnership led by Marie Stopes International and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
AHME strives to improve health outcomes for the poor by enhancing the quality of care in the private sector in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. AHME is implemented through a partnership between:
- Marie Stopes International,Population Services International,Society for Family Health , which focus on social franchising
- Grameen Foundation, which focuses on IT development
- International Finance Corporation(IFC), which works on policies, legislative and governance frameworks as well as demand-side financing, and
- PharmAccess, Medical Credit Fundand SafeCare, which cover demand-side financing, access to capital and quality improvement.
Kwara Health Insurance Program
The Araya scheme, though in its pilot phase, is expected to be made statewide over the next few years. PharmAccess has already achieved this feat with a similar program in Kwara state. In Kwara, the state is providing subsidized health insurance to the poor through a public-private partnership with PharmAccess and private insurer Hygeia.
The subsequent decrease in out-of-pocket expenditure has eased the financial burden on patients and prevents people from falling into catastrophic poverty. Increased health coverage has led to an increase in demand for health services, which has led to an increase in the number of health workers needed. That has produced additional jobs (especially for women), and the new revenue from those jobs has led to broader health insurance coverage.
The Kwara program was recently named as a best practice for engineering system reactions in “10 key lessons for a successful scale-up” in a recent World Economic Forum Report titled Health Systems Leapfrogging in Emerging Economies From Concept to Scale-up and System Transformation.
Both cases, with the NHIS as well as with Ogun state, show how the use of innovative solutions can rapidly put the Nigerian health system on a path to sustainability and Universal Health Coverage.