Rabat – Morocco knows two healthcare systems: private and governmental, the first of which is only accessible by money and the second is often associated with decreased quality of care which may also apply to the private sector.
Experiences from people seeking health care in Morocco show everything but a humane and accessible healthcare system. Patients of governmental hospitals are required to pay for equipment such as sterile syringes or bandages.
Prescribed medications are always excessive in amount, aimed at increased turnover of the collaborating pharmacy and often not affordable by the (on average, poor) population. In a country where 41.3% of the population lives in rural areas with no fixed income or form of social security, disease and illness result in decrease of income, progressive poverty, and stress. Furthermore, corruption is common within the wards to receive attention from the nurses or get the doctor to check up on a patient.
Even though the government has provided insurance coverage for 8 million of the poor, little is observed in reality when poor citizens of the rural areas travel to the city seeking care. And when care in hospitals is provided, a large proportion of the population is not capable of covering the medical costs.
The 2011 Constitution emphasizes equal access of citizens to health care. The same law addresses basic medical coverage, solidarity, health equality and equal distribution of health resources. The World Health Organization reports in collaboration with the Moroccan Ministry of Health to emphasize equality of access to health care, which fails according to scientific studies. A good example is the case of late diagnosis of lymphoma (a form of cancer), where social factors discriminate access to health care.
A delay in diagnosis has an impact on the survival status. Being non-married, having more than 3 children, and having low social economic status increase the odds of a delay by 2.5, 4.39, and 5.82 percent, respectively. This data indicates poor health outcomes based on factors related to decreased and unequal access to health care. Therefore, the current health care system fails to meet the requirements and promises the government makes regarding equality of access to health care.
Failing healthcare systems, public health services, surveillance, and proactive care from the government to the population are visible in large quantities. For example, in 2010, 112 women per 100,000 births died during labor.
A recent published study conducted in the region of Bni Hssen has followed up the maternal death surveillance system for 1.5 years. They found that the system systematically underreports maternal death within and outside health care facilities. The study’s maternal mortality rate was 2.5 times higher than that reported by the local surveillance system. It could be that this form of underreporting is done throughout the country, thus resulting in false improvement reports of the maternal health care system.