April 26, 2011
At a recent national conference on Free Care Policies organized by the Ministry of Health in Mali, one thing became clear: In the last six years, the Government of Mali has made increasing access to health services, particularly for the poor, a major priority.
The two-day conference, which was co-sponsored by MLI, brought together over 100 policymakers, researchers, and healthcare practitioners from both the central and regional levels of Mali. Presentations featured several studies conducted on Mali’s free care initiatives, including the decisions to provide free Caesarean sections in 2005 and to provide free malaria treatment to children under 5 in 2007.
One study in particular, which was supported by HS20/20 – a USAID funded program which intervenes in the areas of financing, governance, operations, and capacity building to strengthen health systems – evaluated the impact of the removal of user fees for Caesareans. The study results indicated that Caesarean rates were increasing and post-Caesarean and neonatal deaths were declining. Yet, according to the study, not all issues had been worked out: women of lower socio-economic status still had problems accessing the service.READ MORE »