In Morocco, health for all is a priority

Loubna Karba, 32, a mother of two, fills out a form at the reception of the public hospital in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. She goes there to treat an arm injury. Loubna has a health insurance card, issued to beneficiaries of the medical assistance plan (RAMED), which allows her easy access to healthcare, without having to face the obstacle of medical costs.

Loubna said that the administration "has opened an office specifically responsible for receiving and directing RAMED card holders to the various departments of the hospital." The young woman is one of the 22 million Moroccans who benefit from Social Security. This health coverage was made possible by a series of reforms supported over the past 15 years by the African Development Bank in the health sector.

"The RAMED card is free and complete access to healthcare. There are no longer any constraints for doing additional exams. Patients are at the heart of our concerns ”, underlines the doctor, who receives Loubna. “It no longer depends on the financial means of the patients. It’s a very good thing for those who need treatment, ”he says.

In Morocco, ten years ago, the state budget spent about 6% on health. Access to medical care was thus limited by the low coverage of social protection schemes. In 2020, this share increased to 14.4%. In 2014, a third (34%) of the population had compulsory health insurance or, failing that, private insurance. Today, two out of three Moroccans (67%) benefit, according to the authorities.

Since 2005, the year of launching reforms in the health sector, the African Development Bank has mobilized a total of more than 360 million dollars to finance the three phases of the program to support the reform of medical coverage. These efforts have helped to offer dual protection, medical and financial, to the most vulnerable populations. The results are there: drop in infant and maternal mortality and a decrease in the prevalence of contagious diseases. In total, state-funded health spending has stood at 18.6 billion Moroccan dirhams in 15 years or more than 1.9 billion euros.

Today, the global health emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of health in public policy. This priority has always marked the partnership between the Bank and Morocco, with an action that contributes to strengthening the capacity of the health system and guaranteeing health cover for vulnerable populations, especially in times of crisis.

In the same perspective, the African Development Bank has, at the end of 2019, contributed nearly $ 204 million to extend social protection, in particular to people with disabilities, children, and vulnerable women in the most remote regions. Objective: to go from a compulsory health insurance coverage rate of 62% of the population in 2018 to more than 80% in 2023.

This new program will build a regional hospital in Guelmim as well as a specialty hospital in Ouarzazate, each with a capacity of 140 beds. In parallel, 144 units specialized in the care of people with specific needs will be created and a hundred rural dispensaries will see their infrastructure and equipment upgraded. These units will be equipped with telemedicine equipment allowing rapid and remote treatment of patients.

By investing in Morocco in strengthening and expanding social protection, the Bank is helping to improve access to millions of Moroccans for basic social services and infrastructure in the most isolated regions. With a long-term ambition, that of allowing everyone to access quality care everywhere.

Source: afdb

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