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Non-Clinical Medicine - Public Health and Epidemiology - Science Policy - Women's Health

Reducing the Medical Cost of Deliveries in Burkina Faso Is Good for Everyone, Including the Poor
Published: Monday, March 12, 2012
Author: Valéry Ridde et al.

by Valéry Ridde, Seni Kouanda, Aristide Bado, Nicole Bado, Slim Haddad

Since 2007, Burkina Faso has subsidized 80% of the costs of child birth. Women are required to pay 20% (900 F CFA?=?1.4 Euros), except for the indigent, who are supposed to be exempted. The objective of the policy is to increase service utilization and reduce costs for households. We analyze the efficacy of the policy and the distribution of its benefits. The study was carried out in Ouargaye district. The analysis was based on two distinct cross-sectional household surveys, conducted before (2006; n?=?1170) and after (2010; n?=?905) the policy, of all women who had had a vaginal delivery in a public health centre. Medical expenses for delivery decreased from a median of 4,060 F CFA in 2006 to 900 F CFA in 2010 (p<0.001). There was pronounced contraction in the distribution of expenses and a reduction in interquartile range. Total expenses for delivery went from a median of 7,366 F CFA in 2006 to 4,750 F CFA in 2010 (p?=?0.001). There was no exacerbation of the initial inequalities of the share in consumption after the policy. The distribution of benefits for medical expenses showed a progressive evolution. The greatest reduction in risk of excessive expenses was seen in women in the bottom quintile living less than 5 km from the health centres. Only 10% of those in the poorest quintile were exempted. The subsidy policy was more effective in Burkina Faso than in other African countries. All categories of the population benefited from this policy, including the poorest. Yet despite the subsidy, women still carry a significant cost burden; half of them pay more than they should, and few indigents are fully exempted. Efforts must still be made to reach the indigent and to reduce geographic barriers for all women.