Senegal: Willingness and Ability to Pay for Drugs. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 011 (1991)
(1991; 1 page)


Researchers from Environment and Development in the Third World (ENDA) and WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs conducted a study in three socioeconomically diverse regions of Senegal to determine if families and individuals could mobilize resources to acquire drugs and determine the source of these resources. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Senegal faced several problems with their health care system including a public sector unable to meet the population’s demands and a flourishing but unequally distributed private sector. To address these problems, the Ministry of Health has attempted to rationalize the public system. One proposal was the adoption of cost recovery schemes to finance part of the public health sector. However, before such schemes can be implemented, the population’s willingness and ability to pay must be determined. Results showed that although drugs were seen as a priority by many individuals and household, many do not have the ability to pay. Data showed that 36% of patients who went to a pharmacy or drug outlet did not buy all medications prescribed to them. Additionally, less than 25% of households could afford to purchase drugs on income alone and 45% of families look immediately for help obtaining money needed to pay for drugs. Researchers concluded that any cost sharing scheme for community health care financing would need to be very carefully constructed if it were to be implemented. Other conclusions were that there is a need to educate prescribers and consumers about the essential drugs concept to rationalize use and that the existing community solidarity should be harnessed to promote equity in a cost sharing scheme. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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