Republic of Moldova reviews financing policy options to support universal health coverage

Pro-Sanatate Moldova

A policy dialogue entitled "Moving towards universal health coverage in the Republic of Moldova: strengthening health financing policies" was organized in Chisinau on 11–12 June 2012. The meeting aimed to provide decision-makers with an overview of the current status of and developments in universal health coverage in Europe, with a view to identifying lessons and options for the Republic of Moldova.

The event was organized by the Ministry of Health with support from WHO and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, in close partnership with the European Union. Participants included about 60 representatives of the Parliament, Central Government, Court of Accounts, Ministry of Health, National Health Insurance Company, National Centre of Health Management, State Medical and Pharmaceutical University, trade unions, international organizations and health care managers from across the country.

Dr Andrei Usatii, Minister of Health, noted in his opening speech: "In [the Republic of] Moldova, allocations to health have continuously increased in the last decades; but unfortunately this has not been accompanied by increased satisfaction of the population with the provided services. It is time now to move towards real universal coverage with quality services and effective financial protection through further strengthening of our financing policies. We are thankful to WHO for assisting us in mobilizing top experts from Europe to share best practices with us in this regard."

Exploring new options

Facilitated debates provided the opportunity to share good experiences and practices; and expert presentations focused on selected priority issues, such as:

  • trends in health financing policy in Europe and health policy responses to the financial crisis; 
  • revenue raising for the health system; 
  • defining adequate and cost-effective benefits packages;
  • informal payments; 
  • user charges;
  • voluntary health insurance;
  • strategic purchasing; 
  • using diagnosis-related groups (DRG) for provider payment;
  • introducing performance-based payment.

The lecturers were invited experts from WHO/Europe (including the WHO office in Barcelona), the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, London School of Economics and the World Bank as well as experts working closely with WHO in Europe and other regions.

"The Republic of Moldova has good prerequisites in place for moving towards universal health coverage, such as a solid health insurance fund and delivery network in primary care. We will have the opportunity to identify and explore additional necessary options for this during the next two days," said Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative and added: "The on-going development of the National Health Insurance Company's institutional strategy is another important element in the process, which we hope will send stronger signals with regards to where health financing is moving in the coming years and make it possible to institutionalize the changes that are needed."

The policy dialogue took place within the framework of the biennial collaborative agreement (BCA) 2012-2013 between the Government and WHO/Europe, and is also part of the WHO/European Union initiative "Supporting policy dialogue on national health policies, strategies and plans in selected countries".