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Health Policy Plan. 2011 Jan;26(1):1-11. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czq021. Epub 2010 Jun 14.

A scoping review of the literature on the abolition of user fees in health care services in Africa.

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Research Center of the University of Montreal Hospital Center, Montreal, Canada.


In Africa, user fees constitute a financial barrier to access to health services. Increasingly, international aid agencies are supporting countries that abolish such fees. However, African decision-makers want to know if eliminating payment for services is effective and how it can be implemented. For this reason, given the increase in experiences and the repeated requests from decision-makers for current knowledge on this subject, we surveyed the literature. Using the scoping study method, 20 studies were selected and analysed. This survey shows that abolition of user fees had generally positive effects on the utilization of services, but at the same time, it highlights the importance of implementation processes and our considerable lack of knowledge on the matter at this time. We draw lessons from these experiences and suggest avenues for future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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