New health financing strategy sets Morocco on the path to Universal Health Coverage
Morocco is on track to achieve the right to health for all, according to new research presented by Oxford Policy Management this week.
Speaking at the anniversary of the launch of the country’s flagship Medical Assistance Scheme (RAMED - Régime d’Assistance Médicale), OPM health specialist Tomas Lievens, outlined a roadmap for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through health financing reforms within the country.
Morocco has made significant advances in health: over the last 30 years, the country has seen the elimination of a number of infectious diseases, an increase in average life expectancy of ten years and maternal and infant mortality halved.
One of the first schemes of its kind in the North African region, RAMED has made great strides towards providing access to basic health services for the poorest and most vulnerable in Morocco. Healthcare coverage across the country increased from 16-53% of the population between 2006 and 2013. However there is still a long way to go.
The OPM team has been working closely with the Moroccan Ministry of Health over the last year and a half, supporting the development of a national health financing strategy that will underpin the move towards UHC.
OPM consultant, Nouria Brikci, who led the project team, said: ‘Morocco has made great strides towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, with the introduction of innovative health schemes based around inclusion and equality. It’s crucial that this momentum is maintained and that political ambition is matched by effective resourcing. Smart health financing is an essential pillar of any UHC strategy and by identifying and implementing areas for reform, Morocco will have a clearer route towards achieving the right to health for all.’
Situational analyses conducted by OPM’s health experts revealed a UHC funding gap of over 16billion dirhams in 2013. To help address this shortfall – which looks set to rise to 27 billion dirhams by 2030 if nothing is done – our team identified three key reform areas: finding new sources of financing for UHC, improving the efficiency of spending of existing resources and increasing the funding pool for health.
Our recommendations – which were incorporated into a health financing strategy for the country – include the introduction of innovative health financing mechanisms (such as revenues from air travel, alcohol and tourism), creating a unified pool in the medium term to ensure cross subsidisation between the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, Other recommendations focus on improving the efficiency of hospital purchasing through for example moves towards output based models of payment that align resources with activities.
The roll-out of this strategy over the next few years will support the move towards a comprehensive and effective national health care offering in Morocco that is available to all.