Healthy Baby Djangi Funds (HBDFs) Save Lives in Cameroon

Organization: 
Medicines for Humanity
Organization Location: 
Rockland, MA, USA

Cameroon has made a package of priority prenatal and delivery services available to pregnant women at a partially subsidized cost, but still has some of the worst maternal mortality rates and neonatal mortality rates in Africa (782 per 100,000 and 33 per 1000 respectively). A large percentage of pregnant women, particularly in rural areas, are not accessing available services because of remaining financial and informational barriers. This project enables pregnant women to self-insure transportation costs and co-payment fees associated with their pregnancy and delivery care. It works through established village bank and community health worker (CHW) networks to financially enable and educationally motivate pregnant women to utilize available services. The primary objective of this program is to reduce neonatal and maternal mortality by at least 50% in the targeted rural areas of Cameroon by increasing the percentage of pregnant women utilizing key services to 95%. Typical approaches to reducing financial barriers include cash transfers, subsidizing services, health insurance plans, or strengthening CHW systems. Our approach is unconventional, creative, and preferable because: 1) it is more sustainable than cash payments or subsidies since the bulk of the cost is paid by the user; 2) it is more affordable than typical insurance plans as it allows pregnant women to pay over time; 3) it is more culturally-friendly because it leverages the indigenous village banking systems method for insuring "special needs"; 4) it increases access to both key clinic and CHW services.

See video