Revisiting the debate on health financing in Low and Middle-income countries: An integrative review of selected models

Maximillian Kolbe Domapielle, Joshua Sumankuuro, Frederick Der Bebelleh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a health policy goal is gaining added currency in the policy agendas of many Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) following the onslaught of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The goal of UHC is to ensure that every citizen has access to quality healthcare services that they need without suffering financial hardship. Whereas most industrialised countries have achieved UHC through the implementation of various traditional health financing mechanisms, most LMIC have not made significant progress in providing financial protection against the costs of illness for majority of the population due to limited fiscal space and or lack of political commitment to raise government revenues and increase fiscal space for health. While the onslaught of COVID-19 refreshes the call for reform of countries' health financing policies to reflect the healthcare needs of the population, the debate about the type or combination of health financing models to employ in LMIC has yet to reach a consensus. This review critically analyses five health financing models to ascertain their appropriateness in providing financial risk protection against the cost of illness, especially in this era of COVID-19. Given the limited fiscal space for health in LMICs, we argue that one viable pathway towards achieving UHC is the adoption of an adaptive mix of diverse pooling mechanisms. Moreover, because the creation of fiscal space is context-specific, and UHC is a political issue rather than technical, securing strong political support is necessary for improving the governance and institutional frameworks for health and ensuring sustained economic growth to respond to the fiscal demands of health systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3061-3074
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Health Planning and Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


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