Report Examines Impact of Providing No-Cost Health Care to Children in Ghana
"Effect of Removing Direct Payment for Health Care on Utilization and Health Outcomes in Ghanaian Children: A Randomized Control Trial," PLoS Medicine: The report examines the impact of providing no-cost care on the health outcomes of children younger than age five in Ghana. According to the study, many deaths among children younger than age five in sub-Saharan African result from preventable diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. For the study, researchers divided 2,592 children into two groups: the first group was provided with no-cost primary health care and drugs, and the control group required families to pay user fees for health care. The study found that families in the first group sought formal health care more frequently and informal health care less frequently than families in the control group. However, the study found no difference in health outcomes among children in the two groups. The researchers concluded that removing health care payments affected health care-seeking behavior but not health outcomes among Ghanaian families (Ansah et al., PLoS Medicine, January 2009).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.