Storage of cord blood attracts private-sector interest.
Storage of cord blood from their babies can cost parents several hundred dollars, and some private companies are already offering the service. Janis Hass reports that some Canadian specialists question the value of the banks. (+info)
Health expenditure and finance: who gets what?
The methods used in South Africa's first comprehensive review of health finance and expenditure are outlined. Special measures were adopted to make the process acceptable to all concerned during a period of profound political transition. The estimation of indicators of access to public sector resources for districts sorted by per capita income allowed the health care problems of disadvantaged communities to be highlighted. (+info)
Welfare gains from user charges for government health services.
The World Bank's Financing health services in developing countries emphasizes demand-side issues--highlighting user fees, insurance, and the private sector as tools for strengthening the health sector. That approach is a major departure from the focus on the supply side--public sector spending, costs, management, and efficiency--that has dominated the international health finance agenda for many years. An important set of empirical papers by Paul Gertler and his co-authors coincided with the release of the policy paper. Gertler's work has questioned a policy of greater dependence on user fees by emphasizing the potential welfare costs to consumers of higher fees for medical services. Many health professionals have adopted the jargon of this new approach without understanding the underlying analysis. This article attempts to demystify the debate that has ensued by illustrating economists' idiosyncratic approach to welfare, explaining how the policy paper and Gertler differ, and suggesting alternative approaches to testing the feasibility of the policy paper's prescriptions. (+info)
The potential of health sector non-governmental organizations: policy options.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increasingly been promoted as alternative health care providers to the state, furthering the same goals but less hampered by government inefficiencies and resource constraints. However, the reality of NGO health care provision is more complex. Not only is the distinction between government and NGO providers sometimes difficult to determine because of their operational integration, but NGOs may also suffer from resource constraionts and management inefficiencies similar to those of government providers. Some registered NGOs operate as for-profit providers in practice. Policy development must reflect the strengths and weaknesses of NGOs in particular settings and should be built on NGO advantages over government in terms of resource mobilization, efficiency and/or quality. Policy development will always require a strong government presence in co-ordinating and regulating health care provision, and an NGO sector responsive to the policy goals of government. (+info)
Whose policy is it anyway? International and national influences on health policy development in Uganda.
As national resources for health decline, so dependence on international resources to finance the capital and recurrent costs is increasing. This dependence, combined with an increasing emphasis on policy-based, as opposed to project-based, lending and grant-making has been accompanied by greater involvement of international actors in the formation of national health policy. This paper explores the process of health policy development in Uganda and examines how major donors are influencing and conflicting with national policy-making bodies. Focusing on two examples of user fees and drugs policies, it argues that while the content of international prescriptions to strengthen the health system may not be bad in itself, the process by which they are applied potentially threatens national sovereignty and weakens mechanisms for ensuring accountability. It concludes by proposing that in order to increase the sustainability of policy reforms, much greater emphasis should be placed on strengthening national capacity for policy analysis and research, building up policy networks and enhancing the quality of information available to the public concerning key policy changes. (+info)
Introducing health insurance in Vietnam.
Like many other countries Vietnam is trying to reform its health care system through the introduction of social insurance. The small size of the formal sector means that the scope for compulsory payroll insurance is limited and provinces are beginning to experiment with ways of encouraging people to buy voluntary insurance. Methods of contracting between hospitals and insurance centres are being devised. These vary in complexity and there is a danger that those based on fee for service will encourage excessive treatment for those insured. It is important that the national and provincial government continue to maintain firm control over funding while also ensuring that a substantial and targeted general budget subsidy is provided for those unable to make contributions. (+info)
User charges in government health facilities in Kenya: effect on attendance and revenue.
In this paper we study demand effects of user charges in a district health care system using cross-sectional data from household and facility surveys. The effects are examined in public as well as in private health facilities. We also look briefly at the impact of fees on revenue and service quality in government facilities. During the period of cost-sharing in public clinics, attendance dropped by about 50%. This drop prompted the government to suspend the fees for approximately 20 months. Over the 7 months after suspension of fees, attendance at government health centres increased by 41%. The suspension further caused a notable movement of patients from the private sector to government health facilities. The revenue generated by user fees covered 2.4% of the recurrent health budget. Some 40% of the facilities did not spend the fee revenue they collected, mainly due to cumbersome procedures of expenditure approvals. The paper concludes with lessons from Kenya's experience with user charges. (+info)
Quality of primary outpatient services in Dar-es-Salaam: a comparison of government and voluntary providers.
This study aimed to test whether voluntary agencies provide care of better quality than that provided by government with respect to primary curative outpatient services in Dar-es-Salaam. All non-government primary services were included, and government primary facilities were randomly sampled within the three districts of the city. Details of consultations were recorded and assessed by a panel who classed consultations as adequate, inadequate but serious consequences unlikely, and consultations where deficiencies in the care could have serious consequences. Interpersonal conduct was assessed and exit interviews were conducted. The study found that government registers of non-government 'voluntary' providers actually contained a high proportion of for-profit private providers. Comparisons between facilities showed that care was better overall at voluntary providers, but that there was a high level of inadequate care at both government and non-government providers. (+info)