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Int J Health Plann Manage. 1997 Jun;12 Suppl 1:S109-35.

Local cost sharing in Bamako Initiative systems in Benin and Guinea: assuring the financial viability of primary health care.


The fourth in a series of five, this article presents and analyses data on cost recovery and community cost-sharing, two key aspects of the Bamako Initiative which have been implemented in Benin and Guinea since 1986. The data come from approximately 400 health centres and result from the six-monthly monitoring sessions conducted from 1989 to 1993. Community involvement in the financing of local operating costs in the two national scale programmes is also described. In Benin and Guinea, a user fee system generates the community financed revenue with the aim of covering local operating costs including drugs. Health worker salaries remain the responsibility of the government and donor funding covers vaccine and investment costs. Village health committees manage and control resources and revenue. The community is also involved in decision making, strategy definition and quality control. In Benin in 1993, community financing revenue amounted to about US$0.6 per capita per year and generally covered all local recurrent non salary costs except vaccines and left a surplus. Although total costs and revenues were slightly lower in Guinea for the same period, over-all user fee revenue (around US$0.3 per capita per year) covered local recurrent costs (not including salaries or vaccines). A comparison of costs and revenue between regions and individual health centres revealed important differences in cost recovery ratios. In Benin, some centres recovered more than twice the local costs targeted for community financing. Twenty-five per cent of centres in Guinea did not manage to cover their designated local recurrent costs. The longitudinal analysis showed that the level of cost recovery remained stable over time even as preventive care (and especially EPI) coverage rose significantly. To better understand the most important characteristics affecting cost recovery levels, best performing health centres in terms of cost-recovery levels in 1993 were compared to worst performing centres. This analysis showed that the size of the target population of the health centre is a key determinant of cost-recovery in both countries. In addition, in Guinea the utilization of curative care linked to geographical access and in Benin the average revenue per case linked to the number of deliveries proved to be additional factors of importance. In best performing centres, financial viability improved over time in both countries between 1990 and 1993. Finally, the implications of these conclusions for the planning of health centre revitalization in West Africa are discussed.

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