UNICEF now has a clear position on user fees for health!
Fantastic news! After a year of intensive discussions, which started in February 2008 in a conference organised by UNICEF in New York, UNICEF has issued clear policy guidance to its health staff in countries. The guidance states that ‘UNICEF is committed to supporting governments willing to remove user fees for services targeting children and pregnant women’. Save The Children UK has played an imoprtant role in bringing the debate to UNICEF’s table, through providing evidence in February, writing to Executive Director Ann Veneman and consistently emphasising the negative impact user fees have on poor people’s ability to seek medical help when they need it. We welcome UNICEF’s decision to clarify its position. Now the UK government, the World Bank, the WHO and UNICEF all stand in support of countries wishing to remove fees. Here’s to hoping developing countries take them up on their offer!