Benin: publication of a report on the rights to social protection and health

Publication of a report on the rights to social protection and health in Benin

Joint press release

Cotonou, Paris, November 24, 2021

Human Dignity, Human Rights Priority and the Network of Caregivers Friends of Patients today published a report (in French) on social protection rights and health in Benin.

This report presents the findings of a mission by our organisations to Cotonou, Benin, in August 2021 to assess the implementation of recommendations adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in March 2020 relating to rights to health and social protection [1].

We welcome the deployment of the health insurance for the poorest. The establishment of the Assurance pour le Renforcement du Capital Humain (ARCH)  by Benin and its launch in July 2019 effectively implements certain aspects of the right to social protection. ARCH, which targets in particular the informal sector and the poorest populations, constitutes a remarkable advance in a country where the informal sector represented 94.3% in 2019 (women representing 63.6% of informal jobs) and where less than 10% of the working population had health insurance before 2019.

Our organisations, however, call on Benin to specify the exact content of the care basket that will be effectively covered by this scheme for the extreme poor populations. Likewise, we invite the State to define the modus operandi allowing the non-extreme poor to benefit from health insurance through ARCH by specifying the amount of the contribution they need to pay.

It is imperative that this progress be accompanied by significant progress in health, and in particular maternal health. Our organisations deplore, among other things, the persistence of obstetric and gynecological violence and the lack of material and human resources in health facilities. We call on Benin to prevent and punish this violence and provide health facilities with materials and tools to humanize prenatal care and childbirth.

Finally, we draw Benin's attention to the urgent need to put an end to the detention of pregnant women and / or women who have just given birth in health centers and hospitals for non-payment of costs, a situation deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court on January 28, 2021.

The report is available here in French only.

Contacts in Benin

[1] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Concluding Observations on the third periodic report of Benin, E / C.12 / BEN / CO / 3, March 27, 2020