African Health Markets for Equity (AHME)
Better Access, Better Health
What is AHME?
Since 2012, the African Health Markets for Equity (AHME) project has worked to enable poor communities in Kenya and Ghana gain access to local high-quality, primary health services through the private sector. The project is centred on the premise that private markets for health delivery are critical for expanding healthcare access for the poor.
What does it want to achieve?
AHME's vision is to build functioning health markets where a poor client can walk into a facility of choice (public or private), with a national health insurance (NHI) card in hand and receive quality health service without any out of pocket payment.
How does AHME make it happen?
AHME works through Social Franchising Networks (SFNs) to assist small to medium-sized private providers to deliver a broad range of primary care services at high quality and to remove financial and other barriers to access services by poor people.
AHME has identified five key market conditions that are necessary for poor people to be able to access quality private health services. To enable these conditions to be met AHME is addressing both supply and demand side constraints and policy challenges.
Operating in Kenya and Ghana, AHME works closely with the National Health Insurance agencies to:
- Ensure the poor are enrolled - AHME partners work to ensure that government health insurance schemes include and reach the poor.
- Ensure that primary health care is covered in NHI - AHME champions comprehensive primary healthcare services packages in government health insurance schemes and advocates for reforms in how primary healthcare services are purchased.
- Facilitate contracting of small and medium healthcare providers within NHI - AHME partners assist providers to become a NHI contractor and explore ways for franchisors to serve as valuable intermediaries between insurers and a network of private providers.
- Assure the quality of services being provided - AHME partners work to measure and improve the quality of services offered by franchised providers to maximise health impact.
- Support providers to build viable businesses - AHME partners support providers to improve their business skills and gain access to credit to grow their businesses so they can provide quality health service to poor clients.
Through its implementation experience, AHME partners seek to share their wealth of insights, to support other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and development partners for future health markets programming. A series of AHME Resources and knowledge products are available see AHME Resources.
AHME is a seven-year project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development. AHME will close in March 2019. With a real focus on ensuring lessons learned by AHME's experience contribute to the wider sector, the project has been undergoing an qualitative evaluation, led by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), implemented on the ground through Innovations for Poverty country offices in Kenya and Ghana. See AHME Resources portal.
African Health Markets for Equity is implemented through a partnership between Marie Stopes International, Population Services International, and the PharmAccess Foundation. Former AHME partners have been Society for Family Health Nigeria, , and International Finance Corporation.