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Do faith-inspired health care providers in Africa reach the poor more than other providers?


  • Olivier, Jill
  • Tsimpo, Clarence
  • Wodon, Quentin


Faith-inspired institutions (FIIs) commonly have as their stated mission a desire to provide quality health services to all, and in particular a commitment to serve the poor, for example, by providing services in remote areas where there are none, or by making services more affordable for those in need. Yet it is unclear whether they are able to fulfil this commitment in the current contexts in which they operate – for example by serving the poor proportionately more than other (wealthier) households, or being utilized by the poor more than other providers. Using data from 14 recent nationally representative household surveys in Africa, this paper suggests that when compared with public providers on a broad macro scale, FIIs currently tend to serve the poor slightly less than other population groups. The data also suggest that on average, beyond differences between countries, FIIs do not serve the poor proportionately more than public providers (the most relevant comparison, given that non-religious for-profit private providers tend to be more oriented towards serving wealthier groups). This does not mean that FIIs do not make special efforts to reach the poor, for example by subsidizing them in order to make services more affordable. However, it suggests that in current African health contexts, FIIs may no longer be that different from public providers in the clientele they serve.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier, Jill & Tsimpo, Clarence & Wodon, Quentin, 2012. "Do faith-inspired health care providers in Africa reach the poor more than other providers?," MPRA Paper 45379, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:45379

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Coulombe, Harold & Wodon, Quentin, 2012. "Benefit incidence of public health spending for public and faith-inspired health facilities in Ghana," MPRA Paper 45390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Gemignani, Regina & Tsimpo, Clarence & Wodon, Quentin, 2012. "Making quality care available for the poor: faith-inspired health facilities in Burkina Faso," MPRA Paper 45389, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2010. "Working for God? Evidence from a Change in Financing of Nonprofit Health Care Providers in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1159-1178, December.
    4. Harold Coulombe & Quentin Wodon, 2013. "Mapping religious health assets: Are faith-inspired facilities located in poor areas in Ghana?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1615-1631.
    5. Olivier, Jill & Wodon, Quentin, 2012. "Market Share of Faith-inspired Health Care Providers in Africa: Comparing Facilities and Multi-purpose Integrated Household Survey Data," MPRA Paper 45365, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Sigrun Møgedal & Sissel Hodne Steen & George Mpelumbe, 1995. "Health sector reform and organizational issues at the local level: Lessons from selected African countries," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(3), pages 349-367, May.
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    More about this item


    Health; Faith; Private Providers; Africa; Christian Health Associations; Poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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