In most African countries south of the Sahara, health care reforms were introduced in public health institutions at the start of the 1990s. In 1994, the Ivory Coast passed legislation imposing user fees for public services. In order to obtain modern health care services, such expenses necessitate that each person have sufficient financial means. Despite their poverty, many impoverished individuals have access to contemporary health-care services that have become rather expensive. This access is made possible by the solidarity of parents, friends, or members of a social network. In Africa, disease is a social phenomena, and being sick is a negative state. A ill person is one who is unable to fully participate in community life. The treatment of a sick person is thus an act that is linked to the socially produced and maintained systems of existence. Once the causes of sickness have been recognized and the effects assessed, the entire family or group is involved in the financial aspects of treatment. We demonstrate the role of social capital in financial solidarity processes for access to modern health care services that now require payment in this study. Our research sheds light on the significance of social capital in the development of social strategies and community-based finance mechanisms for contemporary health care in Africa.

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