The recipient of the 2024 Tessa Jowell Fellowship for Doctoral Research is Ibrahima (Ibou) Dieye, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School studying Health Policy with a focus on Health Economics.

The Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program established the Tessa Jowell Fellowship to support doctoral research at Harvard focusing on policy issues of priority to Ministers participating in the Harvard Ministerial Program. With this fellowship, Ibou will conduct research for his doctoral dissertation and publish a paper assessing the impacts of community-based health insurance (CBHI) on health outcomes in Senegal, with a primary focus on neonatal health as well as adult and adolescent health outcomes.

In 2013, Senegal launched a national program to provide universal access to healthcare without financial barriers. The program utilized Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI) schemes to extend healthcare coverage to those in the informal sector and rural areas. CBHI schemes involve community members pooling funds to cover healthcare costs. While CBHI has been shown to have a positive impact on community development, research indicates that its impact on financial protection and healthcare access is only moderate for participants. Participation rates in CBHI schemes are typically low, with the poorest individuals often left out.

Unlike previous studies that primarily examined the effects of CBHI on healthcare access and financial protection, Ibou’s research takes a unique approach. He aims to evaluate the specific influence of CBHI on neonatal health and adult and adolescent health outcomes in Senegal, thereby filling a crucial gap in the existing literature. Ibou noted:

Over the last decade or so, there has been a big push among many Sub-Saharan African countries to ensure that there’s access to affordable, good-quality care through universal health coverage policies. My research looks at interventions or policies that could improve health outcomes in sub-Saharan African countries, focusing on universal health coverage. I’m interested in measuring the impact of community-based health insurance not just on access to care but also on the quality of care and health outcomes.”