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Value Health Reg Issues. 2014 Sep;4:37-40. doi: 10.1016/j.vhri.2014.06.005. Epub 2014 Jul 15.

Health Care Financing in Ethiopia: Implications on Access to Essential Medicines.

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Department of Pharmaceutics and Social Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Electronic address:



The Ethiopian health care system is under tremendous reform. One of the issues high on the agenda is health care financing. In an effort to protect citizens from catastrophic effects of the clearly high share of out-of-pocket expenditure, the government is currently working to introduce health insurance.


This article aims to highlight the components of the Ethiopian health care financing reform and discuss its implications on access to essential medicines.


A desk review of government policy documents and proclamations was done. Moreover, a review of the scientific literature was done via PubMed and search of other local journals not indexed in PubMed.


Revenue retention by health facilities, systematizing the fee waiver system, standardizing exemption services, outsourcing of nonclinical services, user fee setting and revision, initiation of compulsory health insurance (community-based health insurance and social health insurance), establishment of a private wing in public hospitals, and health facility autonomy were the main components of the health care financing reform in Ethiopia. Although limited, the evidence shows that there is increased health care utilization, access to medicines, and quality of services as a result of the reforms.


Encouraging progress has been made in the implementation of health care financing reforms in Ethiopia. However, there is shortage of evidence on the effect of the health care financing reforms on access to essential medicines in the country. Thus, a clear need exists for well-organized research on the issue.


Ethiopia; access; essential medicines; health care financing; insurance


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