SÉRIE ÉTUDES ET DOCUMENTS Subsidized antimalarial drugs in Dakar (Senegal): Do the poor benefit?
Senegal opted for an antimalarial drug policy (artemisinin-based combination therapy) of partial and then full exemption from health care costs for the whole population respectively in 2008 and 2010. Has this policy reduced access inequalities in children's health care between rich and poor households? Data were collected in Dakar between 2008 and 2009 as part of a research program on urban malaria. A survey was conducted among the population of the Dakar metropolitan area. The sample was based
... on a two-stage sampling. The three questionnaires used for the survey were based on validated data collection tools. Indicators were built to characterize individuals, households and neighborhoods. Bivariate analysis (chi2 test) revealed social gradients within the Dakar agglomeration and characterized health care behaviors of the poorest and richest households. Data have therefore been adjusted by a double zero-inflated Poisson model. Results show that the policy of subsidizing antimalarial drugs in Senegal has reduced health care costs, including for the poor, but without improving its distributive equity. In contrast, this policy has benefited more the richest than the poorest, without mitigating social and financial inequalities. In light of the lessons learnt by the subsidy policy for antimalarial drugs, our study recommends that universal health coverage, currently implemented in Senegal, should seek to mitigate economic inequalities in access to health care for the poorest as well as to improve the health outcomes for the whole population.