Maternal and Child Health: The Social Protection Divide?

Public Policy and Financing

West and Central Africa has the highest regional child and maternal mortality rates in the world and progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals has been frustratingly slow. This report analyzes the financial barriers of access that limit use of essential health services by the poor, examines the composition of health financing, and weighs up the pros and cons of alternative approaches to social protection for health in the region. It focuses in particular on the impact of user fees and the prerequisites for successful user fee abolition, while also assessing other approaches to equitable health financing such as social health insurance and mutual health organizations.

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