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Cote d’Ivoire Abandoning Free Health Care Scheme Due To Cost, Mismanagement

IRIN reports that Cote d’Ivoire is abandoning its free health care for all scheme after a period of nine months, noting, “Theft, poor management and rising costs have made the service — introduced by President Alassane Ouattara’s government at the end of civil conflict to ease a dire public health situation — unaffordable.” According to the news service, “As of February, the free service will only be available to mothers and their children,” meaning “free care for deliveries and free treatment for diseases affecting children under six years old.”

“‘In nine months the government had to pay 30 billion CFA francs [about $60 million] under difficult circumstances,’ Health Minister Yoman N’dri said in Abidjan on Tuesday,” the news service writes, noting “N’dri said implementation of the service had been poorly planned, and the Public Health Pharmacy, the state’s central body for distribution of medical supplies throughout the country, had just 30 percent of its required stock, much of which had been pilfered.” According to the news service, “Aid organizations say the government move is understandable given the country’s recent political turmoil” (1/26).