Nine out of ten people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have any access to health or accident insurance. They have to pay tremendously high fees for treatment, medical care and hospitalisation out of their own pocket. Especially at risk are those living below the poverty line (more than 40% in Sub-Saharan Africa) have to take out loans, dissolve their savings or sell essential resources to pay for their treatment. Therefore, many are not in the position to make use of the required services, in fact many people fall into poverty due to illness and treatment costs.
To have an effective health insurance in Sub-Saharan Africa we need help from the government right? But what if instead of waiting for the government, the money came from the pocket of the people itself? I know what you are thinking: “it is impossible to cover the health of everyone.” The African mobile market exceeded half a billion subscribers during the third quarter of 2010. So investing in their own health through solidarity is possible. How? By creating a health fund that will work together with a mobile phone company, so each time a customer buys a prepaid refill card to recharge his mobile phone 5 to 10% of the total cost will automatically be saved in the health fund.
This is a tool for national health coverages in many countries in Africa. Meaning that the subscriber is not only contributing for his own health insurance but also those of other members. whoever gets sick, will be treated with the help of the collective fund. Anayris, the mobile health platform I envision, requires users to pay into a collective fund with each recharge through a certified phone company.
Typically in Angola and much of Africa, mobile users recharge their phone frequently. As medical needs arises, customer access the funds to get coverage through a participating medical facility. Solidarity should be THE priority to ensure our health. We truly need an innovative health system strategy like this one that will enable better health security in cost efficient way via mobile phones.
Thank you to Maria Pedro Miala, @Afrolinda80 , for sharing her innovative solution to health insurance in Africa. Many people fly under the radar, and would rather take their chances at recovering than spending all their savings, if they have any, on medical care. There are other mobile facilities that are helping people gain health care around Africa. This is also not the first innovative insurance solutions that we have had on Inventive Africa. Check out this cool insurance scheme that protects farmers against drought!
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