Again I got many responses to my blog. There is a great demand for a more content related blog about the relationship between HealthNet TPO and Achmea. So here is a contribution on how we work together with the Achmea Foundation on insurance solutions in remote areas...
Making debts is order to get treatment
When someone gets seriously ill, a poor African family has to use most its resources to be able to get the necessary care. That is often very expensive. What’s even worse, is that it hinders the family and its future possibilities: valuables (cattle, soil) have to be sacrificed, or it causes a heavy burden of debt repayment that often continues for a long time, even when the health problems have been solved.
A recent study of the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that 82% of the ill people in rural Burundi is compelled to make debts or to sell (part of) their property in order to get treatment. In addition, in fragile states and post-conflict settings such as Burundi, health structures are often unable to deliver the required care.
Providing access to medical care for the poorest of the poor
In recent years, HealthNet TPO and Achmea have been working on the development of micro-health-insurance models that are applicable in fragile states, and provide access to medical care for the poorest of the poor. In this project the models will be applied. This should lead to increased access to health care for the most vulnerable in the communities we work with in the provinces of Gitega, Makamba and Muyinga (Eastern Burundi).
Removing barriers towards development
The health insurance is part of a larger package of “income protection insurances”, including crop and cattle insurances. Through this integrated package, barriers to development are removed and the rural population will be able to introduce new farming techniques and thereby increasing their revenue without taking too high and/or intolerable risks. With the higher income it becomes possible to have extra money to pay for (health) insurance.
Introduction of new services
The introduction of micro-insurances provides a structural solution for problems arising from poverty and climate related risks. New in this programme is that by introducing service components in the insurance package, it is tried to reduce barriers to get insurance. Services could include family planning, impregnated mosquito nets, baby food, preventative vaccination of cattle, education on nutrition, and education on hygiene, storage of crops and seeds, and access to micro-finance. In addition we convince the insured people to renew their policies, even if they haven’t had any damage/costs.
Rebuilding community trust is most important
The most important part of this project might even be that we contribute to rebuilding trust in Burundian communities, through a cooperative insurance system. Trust has been damaged severely during the long internal conflict in the country.
Wim Overbeeke – Country Director Burundi at HealthNet TPO
Background – Wim studied International Relations and Economics (Free University) and before he came to HealthNet TPO he worked at Achmea (large Dutch insurance company), UWV, DGIS (in Burundi), ILO (in Burundi and Benin) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Currently Wim has been posted by Achmea at our office in Bujumbura to manage the local office, to develop new (insurance) projects, to manage the DCR programme and to represent HealthNet TPO in the DCR steering committee.