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Healthcare funders conference calls for collaboration

by Agencies
14 Sep 2017 at 11:00hrs | Views
The Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe conference took place on 7 and 8 September. With delegates and speakers from multiple sectors, including health insurance, medical services and government, the annual conference brings stakeholders together to discuss their roles in enabling greater access to healthcare services.

Speaking at the event, Dr Numaan Mohamood, Divisional Director of Member Care at Liberty Health, stressed the importance of ongoing conversation and collaboration; "Funding healthcare and establishing quality systems requires sharing of insights, perspectives and protocols. While regulators and funders can play an oversight role in terms of value delivery and sustainability, healthcare providers are the stewards of patient health and must be active in the conversation."

A key concern for medical professionals on the African continent is income insecurity. The International Finance Corporation reports that 72% of African healthcare services are paid for out-of-pocket, which puts healthcare practitioners at huge financial risk, especially in times of economic downturn. This drives medical talent offshore and does not support the development of services in-country.

"Our core concerns as funders are sustainability and value - not just for patients, but for healthcare professionals too. They need to know that they will be paid fairly and timeously for services rendered," says Mohamood, who works with provider networks to ensure practitioners understand how fee structures and care protocols relate to the long-term sustainability of funders.

Mohamood says that insurers need to gain the trust of provider networks. In the past, small insurers have gone to market with selective membership products. Due to their less comprehensive product offering, these providers are unable to accommodate funding for secondary and tertiary services - this results in limited hospital coverage and reduced access to tertiary care.

The solution, according to Mohamood, is population level clinical risk management and the entrenchment of evidence based medical protocols. To date, the required data, actuarial analysis and reporting has been scarce due to a number of factors, including pressured public health budgets and few systematic measures of population wellness.

"When Liberty Health was established, there was little available data on population health risk. We are now active in 22 African regions and have adequate information to design and implement sustainable and comprehensive funding options across borders," he says.

Beyond this informational insight, the company's tie to the Liberty Group, which this year celebrates 60 years in financial services, gives it significant credibility with its corporate clients, whose budgets can contribute hugely to the growth of local medical services. The Liberty Health cover product is licenced in Zimbabwe by FBC Insurance Company Limited.

"Substantial inroads have been made for funding healthcare in Africa - the potential to attract and sustain medical talent and services in-country has never been better," says Mohamood.


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Source - Agencies

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