Laying the Groundwork for Universal Health Coverage in Senegal Through Sustainable Financing

The Challenge

After the election of President Macky Sall in 2012, the Government of Senegal committed to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) by 2022. This renewed political will has energized efforts to strengthen the use of existing community-based health insurance, which has long served as one of the country’s most promising methods for covering populations outside of the formal sector. The Strategic Plan for Developing Universal Health Coverage in Senegal 2013-2017 was designed to help achieve this goal. This plan aims to scale up community-based health insurance for informal and rural populations, reform the formal sector scheme, strengthen existing free care for pregnant women and the elderly, and implement new free care policies for children under five. Because sustainable financing has been a historical problem in realizing Senegal’s health sector goals, the country is currently designing a national health financing strategy (NHFS) to facilitate the success of the 2013-2017 plan and help bring community-based health insurance to all.

The Opportunity

The government of Senegal has the opportunity to achieve universal health coverage by 2022, but not without sustainable financing. A national health financing strategy that sustainably and equitably finances an inclusive health system is a key pillar to support Senegal’s path towards achieving UHC. To help develop the NHFS, R4D is working with Abt Associates on USAID’s Health Systems Strengthening Plus (HSS+) project throughout the strategy development process. Bringing our global leadership on UHC, R4D is providing technical guidance to the NHFS steering committee and strategy-focused thematic groups to hone a cohesive financing strategy aimed at accomplishing its mission. A well-planned financing strategy will enable the government to expand the coverage of primary health care across the Senegalese population and achieve UHC.

Our Progress

R4D has worked closely with the NHFS Steering Group since it began meeting in October 2016. Through regular consultations in Dakar, R4D has engaged with local stakeholders to ensure that the resulting strategy considers key themes that underpin sustainable health financing, including resource mobilization, risk pooling, strategic purchasing, governance, and monitoring and evaluation.

R4D has also amassed international evidence on health financing strategies across various country contexts, comparing strategy objectives, processes, content and duration. Armed with this evidence, R4D has guided the development of the NHFS at local workshops with multi-sectoral stakeholders. The NHFS steering committee and thematic groups will incorporate this evidence into their decisions as they develop Senegal’s own health financing strategy.

R4D has provided further support by offering technical guidance and resources to the NHFS thematic groups as they grapple with key questions that any sustainable health financing policy must address. As the project continues, R4D will maintain its engagement by providing regular technical assistance to the thematic groups and steering committee’s outputs in pursuit of a cohesive strategy that provides sustainable and equitable health coverage to ensure the well-being of the Senegalese people.

Global & Regional Initiatives

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