October 2023: Ethiopia: government recognizes support for national health insurance

Ethiopian government recognizes support for national health insurance with recognition award for PBF

Ethiopia has faced public health care challenges due to low socioeconomic status, lack of awareness, and limited access to modern health care in rural areas. Most people living in rural areas of Lalibela and marginalized communities in the southern region could not afford the cost of medical care when they became ill.

After becoming aware of these problems, PBF decided to seek improvements. For many years, it has helped the sick and paid all the costs incurred.  Now a new drastic step has been taken. For the last three years, PBF has introduced a national health insurance in Lalibela as well as for various ethnic groups in the south of the country (Fuga). PBF pays the relatively modest annual premiums. As a result, direct support is provided, i.e. payment of individual medical bills as well as all medical expenses. The local administration also pays for prescription drugs. The goal is to improve health. In case of illness, the costs of basic care in nearby public institutions are covered by a collective fund. This is overseen by the authorities.

PBF’s main target group is the poorest of the poor, the sick, the elderly, people with disabilities, households headed by single women, and children. Over the past three years, the assistance has been very effective and efficient. Those benefiting from the insurance have experienced healing in many ways, not only for themselves but also for their families.

The PBF pilot project CHBI was launched in 2021, initially for 160 people in need in Lalibela. A particular advantage of this is that all family members in the same household are insured.  Already three years ago, the number expanded to 804 households with 2,860 beneficiaries. In detail, the following numbers are involved:

300 households with a total of 1,068 family members distributed in 10 districts (kebele) in the district of Lasta;

408 households with 1,216 family members distributed in 4 districts (kebele) in the city of Lalibela;

96 households with 576 family members in the community in southern Ethiopia, where the Fuga tribe lives.


The Administration and Health Authority in Lasta Woreda Government District awarded PBF in October 2023. The project coordinator in Lalibela, Abebe Zewdu, received the honor: a certificate and a hand-woven white cloth (Gabi) made of cotton . Ethiopians wear it very often over their shoulders and upper body.

In the upcoming year 2024 PBF wants to continue this extremely beneficial work, expand it locally and if possible extend it to the Manja tribe in the southwest of Ethiopia.

Abebe Zewdu and Getachew Sale

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