How do we do Healthcare?
April 03, 2023
We are often asked “Is Ethiopia ACT a clinic or a hospital? Do we have clinicians on staff? What is the role of short-term medical teams? How do we provide care?”
Ethiopia ACT provides very little direct medical care but instead employs a support model, following closely with beneficiaries to provide the basic physical, financial and social support needed to enable effective care.
Most of our beneficiaries come to us with an existing diagnosis of a major chronic illness. Care begins with a home visit by project staff to review the beneficiaries housing situation, nutritional needs, medication storage, mobility and other barriers to health care access. These visits continue regularly throughout beneficiary’s enrollment to ensure treatment follow up and early identification of new health issues.
All beneficiaries are enrolled in the government CBHI program. This community-based health insurance provides a package of essential health services including inpatient and outpatient facilities. ACT covers the yearly premium for all beneficiaries, 500 birr or approximately 10 USD per year/ member. This allows beneficiaries to access most of their health care needs with no out-of-pocket expenses.
For health care needs not covered by CBHI, ACT provides referrals to private facilities or tertiary care centers and covers additional costs for tests and treatment. This is most often used for beneficiaries needing oncologic treatments, psychiatric care or long-term therapy interventions for children with disabilities.
Because of our close relationship with the government health centers in our communities, a major priority for Ethiopia ACT is health systems strengthening. In the past this has included setting up the antiretroviral therapy counseling and adherence program at multiple government health centers and currently includes implementing a Community Led Monitoring program to improve HIV/AIDS care.
Visiting medical teams are one way in which we provide direct care. Teams include a mix of primary care providers and specialists and see a selected group of beneficiaries and community members. They provide basic primary care but more importantly identify community members with previously undiagnosed or untreated major medical conditions and they help to ensure that enrolled beneficiaries are correctly diagnosed and treated.