The Yanfolila Mutual Health Insurance Scheme
Between 2010 and 2013 J&D ran an extremely successful economic and health development programme in Yanfolila, close to the Guinea border, which focused especially on putting women in control of decisions. An external evaluation showed effective work on nutrition, hygiene and childcare, and the huge success of a Village Savings and Loans scheme which spawned 200 groups with 5000 members. With MDG’s help some of those groups have expanded into further economic activities.
The final stage of the overall project was the development of a ‘Mutuelle’ - a community health insurance scheme to provide the financial security for local people to seek proper help with their health needs. Within the area, local clinics, and District Referral centres (small hospitals like the one MDG supported in Kolondieba) provide basic coverage of health care services. But people have to pay for treatment and medicines which leaves many unable to use the service - relying instead on traditional methods or just hoping for the best!
Through the Mutuelle, people can save in advance against the time when they need the help of the health service.
The early period of the Mutuelle’s life was tough - after a really encouraging start, an unexpected loss of funding, the political crisis in Mali and a resulting loss of confidence meant that J&D had to work very hard to keep the scheme alive. MDG made a special appeal during 2105 to keep the project going while we tried to find the money needed to develop and expand the project. Thanks to a successful application to Comic Relief we are now (January 2016) able to move forward with this vital project.