Rabat – On April 11, Abdellah Ghazi, president of the Tiznit provincial council, launched a new bonus program to bring private and public sector health professionals to remote parts of the Tiznit province in Southern Morocco.
Funded by the Tiznit provincial council and the Joud Foundation, a charity set up by the Moroccan political party National Independent Group (RNI), the new program will provide MAD 8 million in bonuses to more than 160 medical staff in the Tiznit province, over a period of four years.
The goal is to bring health professionals to the Tiznit province, to facilitate access to health services for all Moroccans living in the region.
The bonuses range between MAD 1200 ($125) and MAD 2500 ($259) for doctors, and MAD 500 ($52) and MAD 1000 ($104) for nurses. Payments also increase depending on the distance of the role from Tiznit, and whether the work is located within 30 km of town, between 30 km and 70 km from town and over 70 km from town.
The program also sets up monthly medical visits to the remote mountain towns of Anzi and Tafraout, bringing specialist doctors to these areas where healthcare is currently limited.
The doctors will be paid a MAD 600 ($62) bonus per medical visit, provided they carry out at least 30 consultations. Drivers bringing the doctors to the towns will also receive 300 ($31) MAD.
Part of the planned total budget will also be allocated to improve existing clinics, as well as to provide housing for the health professionals.
An unmet demand for healthcare
The Moroccan Constitution explicitly recognizes that the people of Morocco have “a right to healthcare.” However, many Moroccans today do not have access to this right.
Healthcare in Morocco is characterized by glaring disparities between rural and urban areas, notes the World Bank in a 2018 report “Morocco: Emerging by Investing in Intangible Capital.”
Access to essential health services across the country is limited, especially in rural areas. Almost a quarter of rural households live at least 10 km away from basic health services.
Adding to this, the number of health professionals across the country is unevenly distributed. The average number of people to one doctor is 2,107. However, in the rural Taza region in the northern part of the country, the ratio doubles to one doctor per 4,201 people.
In 2017, the World Bank found that that 8.5 million Moroccans (so approximately 25%) do not have access to health services.
One of the solutions it suggests is the development of mobile health services for isolated populations.
The Tiznit initiative does just this. By arranging monthly medical visits to the mountain towns of Anzi and Tafraout, and setting up incentives for rural medical work, the Tiznit initiative is an active step towards ensuring that all Moroccans, one day, are able to enjoy their “right to healthcare.”