Intended for healthcare professionals

This Week In The Bmj

User fees should be dropped in sub-Saharan Africa

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 29 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:0-c

Removing user fees—charges for health care at the point of use—could save an estimated 233 000 lives a year in children aged under 5 in 20 African countries. This is an estimation of a modelling study by James and colleagues (p 747), who argue that the abolition could be done at a relatively low cost while greatly improving people's access to health care.

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On p 762, Gilson and McIntyre support the call for removal of user fees, but warn that the action—if approved—might backfire if not planned and managed with care.