A report on Morocco’s 2021 budget outlines strategic objectives for investment in the health sector, including advancing equitable access to health services.
Rabat – Morocco’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 has provided a total of MAD 3.135 billion ($342 million) to the country’s health sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the newly-released presentation note of the 2021 Finance Bill.
The fund allocated the sum to help finance upgrading medical and hospital equipment, purchasing pharmaceutical products, and improving medical intervention resources.
The country’s medical response has received recognition for its effectiveness, largely thanks to capital from the special fund. King Mohamed VI ordered the fund’s creation in mid-March, with an initial value of MAD 10 billion ($1.1 billion).
The fund generated billions within the first months of its creation, which Morocco used in part to purchase necessary equipment to treat and host COVID-19 patients across the country.
Despite Morocco’s relatively effective response, infections continue to spread. Further strengthening the health system and improving its accessibility remain goals for the Moroccan government.
On September 28, during a session of the House of Representatives, Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun announced that the health sector will be a priority in Morocco’s 2021 Finance Bill.
Benchaaboun added that Morocco will reserve 5,500 budget items for the health sector, marking an increase of 1,500 items compared to 2020.
A significant segment of the overall MAD 230 billion ($25.1 billion) budget for public investment, this figure translates to a health sector increase of approximately MAD 2 billion (USD $217 million).
The presentation note on Morocco’s budget for the coming year includes several health sector objectives, perhaps most notably improving equitable access to quality health care.
In his 21st Throne Day speech, King Mohammed VI pledged to generalize social security mechanisms to cover all citizens as soon as possible. That includes health insurance as the first of four key elements in the “far-reaching, unprecedented national project.”
The monarch said that the goal is to achieve “universal compulsory health coverage for an additional 22 million Moroccans by the end of 2022, at the latest.”
The generalization of health coverage aims to integrate Medical Assistance Plan (RAMED) beneficiaries, independent workers, and other professional categories who operate in free activities, by the end of 2022.
According to the note, the reform of Morocco’s health sector in terms of equipment and services might play a key role in the success of the 2022 objective.