Alaafia Universal Health Coverage Fund (AUCHF)
Over the last 10 years of operations, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) has provided financing and healthcare provision through the Indigent Medical Fund, The Twins and Multiple Birth Program, and the Positive Lifeline Program. As we look forward to the post-2015 agenda, we have reviewed our operations to ensure our impact continues to be effective and far-reaching.
Considering that approximately 70% of Nigerians live below the poverty line on less than USD $1 a day, subsidized health insurance can be the difference between life and death for a number of families. Out-of-pocket financing at the point of service in hospitals can cripple families financially for years, resulting in further economic vulnerability and limited access to regular primary healthcare, setting off a cycle of poverty and poor health for generations.
For this reason, WBFA has decided to transform and merge our existing health financing schemes to initiate the Alaafia Universal Health Coverage Fund (AUHCF) in partnership with Hygeia Community Health Care (www.hygeiagroup.com) - a local health insurance provider - and PharmAccess Foundation. Through the AUHCF, we will fund the insurance premiums of 5000 people each year.
The AUHCF will serve enrollees with an estimated percentage representation at the following levels: Pregnant women (30%); Newborns and infants (10%); Older children, up to age 5 years old (20%); Adolescent girls (20%); Persons living with HIV/AIDS (13%); and the elderly (7%).
This will initially be spread across specific low-income communities in Kwara State, north-central Nigeria, to ensure that healthcare gets to more people who lack the financial and geographical access to healthcare.
WBFA will continuously seek ways to improve and expand AUHCF, to bring the strategy of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as championed by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, to those in need.
Research has shown that investing in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) could yield up to nine times its value in economic and social benefits, and healthy home practices and community-based care could save over 90 000 babies a year. Primary healthcare over emergency care not only avoids high out-of-pocket spending, but also educates mothers about their health and the health of their children.
This will empower women to make informed decisions about their care, in partnership with their healthcare provider, setting the foundation for respectful maternity care and improved long-term relationships with healthcare professionals. Establishing a relationship of respect and trust with healthcare professionals during adolescence will also encourage young girls to overcome cultural stigmas regarding their reproductive health, and engage in health-seeking behaviour throughout their lives for the benefit of their entire families.