An evidence-based advocacy program in Tanzania, led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) based in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, used data outlining the high costs of paying for health care for pregnant women and young children to convince the nation’s leading private health insurer to begin covering the costs of modern contraception.
The success of the Advance Family Planning (AFP) advocacy project could be a model for how to engage more private companies in family planning while reducing health care costs at the same time, CCP and the insurer AAR suggest in an abstract presented at the International Conference on Family Planning, November 12-15 in Kigali, Rwanda.
In Tanzania, private medical insurance doesn’t typically cover family planning because these services are offered free of charge in public facilities. But women have complained about the quality of services, overcrowding, long waiting times and unexpected charges at public facilities despite the fact that family planning, maternal and child health are free of charge by policy. As a result, more and more women who can afford it prefer to access these services at private health facilities.
The move by AAR has “really opened up the access doors to those clients,” says Ms. Halima Shariff, who leads CCP’s family planning advocacy efforts in Tanzania.