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Comparative analysis of the mutual health insurance companies and other micro-insurance systems in Benin

Stéphane VANCUTSEM student laureate

°1973 Belgium
Licence in political sciences, option: international relations, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 1997

Analyse comparée des mutuelles de santé et autres systèmes de micro-assurance santé au Bénin

The entitlement to health care is one of the essential rights of human beings. The access to health care is, however, not proportionally divided over the world and is, therefore, an important criterion for assessing poverty and underdevelopment. In most Sub Saharan African countries only civil servants and formal salaried personnel in private companies have such a privileged access to health care through their membership to some kind of social security system. As the majority of the population in these countries work and earn a living in the informal sector or the rural areas, the access to health care is a privilege for a minority only. This is the starting point in the work of S. Vancutsem. He applies this general insight by confronting it with the Beninese situation.

In the beginning of the nineties 58% of the Beninese population had no access to health care systems. This situation has since improved slightly. One of the instruments to increase the access to health care is the implementation and strengthening of (micro) health insurance systems.

The essential part of Vancutsem’s work consists in a comparative analysis of different micro health insurance systems in Benin. This analysis is based on the principles and foundations of mutual insurance systems, whereby the principles of insurance and solidarity are central, but, given the numerous different initiatives, the mix of these principles is very divergent. The comparative analysis encompasses, moreover, other characteristics, such as participative democracy, solidarity, equity, and stimulating the responsibility and autonomy of the members.

Finally, the comparative analysis enables those stakeholders interested in the study to assess the sustainability of these different initiatives in the field of micro health insurance systems.

report by Prof. Dr. S. Marysse, Department of Applied Economic Sciences, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium