Project Lead(s): Mary Juliet Labitigan
High maternal mortality exists in low-income countries, resulting from delays in accessing appropriate healthcare due to financial barriers. The problem is particularly acute in the Philippines where the maternal mortality rate was higher in 2012 than in 2009.
The project aimed to design and develop health insurance products for low-income women in Marikina City, to enable them to access life-saving maternal healthcare services and reduce the risk of maternal death. Three health insurance products were initially designed and developed.
The first two products were designed by partner–mentor CARD Pioneer Micro-insurance. The development of these insurance products was guided by a market study conducted in two districts in Marikina City. Both products have a savings component and a waiting period of about six years before the funds can be accessed.
Focus group discussions led to a recommendation that additional reproductive healthcare benefits be included in the package and that the premiums be paid in installments.
The three health insurance products developed are currently awaiting approval from the Insurance Commission (IC), which regulates insurance in the Philippines.
As part of the project 2,455 women were educated on safe motherhood, child health and nutrition, breastfeeding and child immunizations. Information on savings for health was also disseminated to these women, in collaboration with the Marikina City Health Office.
An increase in the number of women accessing prenatal services was noted over the study period.
The project team also assisted the IC in conducting a literacy campaign on insurance and micro-insurance to cooperatives and residents in Marikina City. A total of 10 cooperatives with 60 participants attended the insurance literacy seminar, and 490 mothers were also oriented on insurance and micro-insurance by IC during the safe motherhood learning sessions.
At this time, no women are accessing services using the health insurance, as the final product is still subject to regulatory approval.
The researchers intend to apply for Transition To Scale (TTS) funding. Next steps include finalizing the product development and expanding availability of the products to other sites.