This paper reviews the experience of implementing user fees in Africa. It describes the two main approaches to implementing user fees that have been applied in African countries, the standard and the Bamako Initiative models, and their common objectives. It summarizes the evidence concerning the impact of fees on equity, efficiency and system sustainability as opposed to financial sustainability;: and the key bottlenecks to their effective implementation. On the basis of this evidence it then draws out three main sets of lessons, focusing on: where and when to implement fees; how to enhance the impact of fees on their objectives; and how to strengthen the process of implementation.
Gilson, L. The lessons of user fees experience in Africa. Health Policy and Planning (1997) 12 (3) 273-285.