"Transnational health insurances and the involvement of Congolese immigrants in their relatives’ health from abroad" by Jean-Michel Lafleur and Olivier Lizin

Past Event

02 December 2015, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Queen Elizabeth House
Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB

This seminar is organised by the International Migration Institute, an Oxford Martin School Institute


  • Jean-Michel Lafleur, University of Liège
  • Olivier Lizin, University of Liège

Summary: For many years, the migration and development literature has looked at the impact of financial remittances on immigrant relatives’ access to healthcare. More recent work on social remittances also examined the circulation of ideas and practices through migration and its impact on behaviour and consumption patterns in the home country. Surprisingly, however, migration scholars have neglected the interactions between remittances and local health systems in countries of origin. This is all the more surprising considering the abundant literature on health and development that has documented numerous non-governmental initiatives to improve access to care in the Global South in recent years. Among those initiatives, community-based health insurances (CBHI) have attracted significant attention. CBHI are voluntary risk-pooling schemes run by not-for-profit organisations; they collect fees among users at the local level and organise access to care with providers. While the growing literature on CBHI is shedding light on the potential of civil society organisations to replace or compensate for weak public health systems, it forgets that – in many parts of the world – access to the necessary capital to join those schemes is still very dependent on emigration of some family members. In other words, for many families worldwide, strategies to access healthcare have become transnational.