A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Some donors and governments propose that health insurance mechanisms can close health financing gaps and benefit poor people. Although beneficial for the people able to join, this method of financing health care has so far been unable to sufficiently fill financing gaps in health systems and improve access to quality health care for the poor.
Donors and governments need to consider the evidence and scale up public resources for the health sector. Without adequate public funding and government stewardship, health insurance mechanisms pose a threat rather than an opportunity to the objectives of equity and universal access to health care.