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(1/1275) Tobacco control advocates must demand high-quality media campaigns: the California experience.

OBJECTIVE: To document efforts on the part of public officials in California to soften the media campaign's attack on the tobacco industry and to analyse strategies to counter those efforts on the part of tobacco control advocates. METHODS: Data were gathered from interviews with programme participants, direct observation, written materials, and media stories. In addition, internal documents were released by the state's Department of Health Services in response to requests made under the California Public Records Act by Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. Finally, a draft of the paper was circulated to 11 key players for their comments. RESULTS: In 1988 california voters enacted Proposition 99, an initiative that raised the tobacco tax by $0.25 and allocated 20% of the revenues to anti-tobacco education. A media campaign, which was part of the education programme, directly attacked the tobacco industry, exposing the media campaign to politically based efforts to shut it down or soften it. Through use of outsider strategies such as advertising, press conferences, and public meetings, programme advocates were able to counter the efforts to soften the campaign. CONCLUSION: Anti-tobacco media campaigns that expose industry manipulation are a key component of an effective tobacco control programme. The effectiveness of these campaigns, however, makes them a target for elimination by the tobacco industry. The experience from California demonstrates the need for continuing, aggressive intervention by nongovernmental organisations in order to maintain the quality of anti-tobacco media campaigns.  (+info)

(2/1275) Reforming the health sector in developing countries: the central role of policy analysis.

Policy analysis is an established discipline in the industrialized world, yet its application to developing countries has been limited. The health sector in particular appears to have been neglected. This is surprising because there is a well recognized crisis in health systems, and prescriptions abound of what health policy reforms countries should introduce. However, little attention has been paid to how countries should carry out reforms, much less who is likely to favour or resist such policies. This paper argues that much health policy wrongly focuses attention on the content of reform, and neglects the actors involved in policy reform (at the international, national sub-national levels), the processes contingent on developing and implementing change and the context within which policy is developed. Focus on policy content diverts attention from understanding the processes which explain why desired policy outcomes fail to emerge. The paper is organized in 4 sections. The first sets the scene, demonstrating how the shift from consensus to conflict in health policy established the need for a greater emphasis on policy analysis. The second section explores what is meant by policy analysis. The third investigates what other disciplines have written that help to develop a framework of analysis. And the final section suggests how policy analysis can be used not only to analyze the policy process, but also to plan.  (+info)

(3/1275) The state of health planning in the '90s.

The art of health planning is relatively new in many developing countries and its record is not brilliant. However, for policy makers committed to sustainable health improvements and the principle of equity, it is an essential process, and in need of improvement rather than minimalization. The article argues that the possibility of planning playing a proper role in health care allocative decisions is increasingly being endangered by a number of developments. These include the increasing use of projects, inappropriate decentralization policies, and the increasing attention being given to NGOs. More serious is the rise of New Right thinking which is undermining the role of the State altogether in health care provision. The article discusses these developments and makes suggestions as to possible action needed to counteract them.  (+info)

(4/1275) Choice and accountability in health promotion: the role of health economics.

Choices need to be made between competing uses of health care resources. There is debate about how these choices should be made, who should make them and the criteria upon which they should be made. Evaluation of health care is an important part of this debate. It has been suggested that the contribution of health economics to the evaluation of health promotion is limited, both because the methods and principles underlying economic evaluation are unsuited to health promotion, and because the political and cultural processes governing the health care system are more appropriate mechanisms for allocating health care resources than systematic economic analysis of the costs and benefits of different health care choices. This view misrepresents and misunderstands the contribution of health economics to the evaluation of health promotion. It overstates the undoubted methodological difficulties of evaluating health promotion. It also argues, mistakenly, that economists see economic evaluation as a substitute for the political and cultural processes governing health care, rather than an input to them. This paper argues for an economics input on grounds of efficiency, accountability and ethics, and challenges the critics of the economic approach to judge alternative mechanisms for allocating resources by the same criteria.  (+info)

(5/1275) Developing a plan for primary health care facilities in Soweto, South Africa. Part I: Guiding principles and methods.

The new political era in South Africa offers unique opportunities for the development of more equitable health care policies. However, resource constraints are likely to remain in the foreseeable future, and efficiency therefore remains an important concern. This article describes the guiding principles and methods used to develop a coherent and objective plan for comprehensive primary health care facilities in Soweto. The article begins with an overview of the context within which the research was undertaken. Problems associated with planning in transition are highlighted, and a participatory research approach is recommended as a solution to these problems. The article goes on to describe how the research methods were developed and applied in line with the principles of participatory research. The methods were essentially rapid appraisal techniques which included group discussions, detailed checklists, observation, record reviews and the adaptation of international and local guidelines for service planning. It is suggested that these methods could be applied to other urban areas in South Africa and elsewhere, and that they are particularly appropriate in periods of transition when careful facilitation of dialogue between stakeholders is required in tandem with the generation of rapid results for policy-makers.  (+info)

(6/1275) The political economy of capitated managed care.

Despite the fact that billions of dollars are being invested in capitated managed care, it has yet to be subjected to the rigors of robust microeconomic modeling; hence, the seemingly intuitive assumptions driving managed care orthodoxy continue to gain acceptance with almost no theoretical examination or debate. The research in this paper finds the standard unidimensional model of risk generally used to analyze capitation--i.e., that risk is homogenous in nature, organizationally fungible, and linear in amplitude--to be inadequate. Therefore, the paper proposes to introduce a multidimensional model based on the assumption that phenomenologically unrelated species of risk result from non-homogenous types of socioeconomic activity in the medical marketplace. The multidimensional analysis proceeds to concentrate on two species of risk: probability risk and technical risk. A two-dimensional risk matrix reveals that capitation, far from being a market-oriented solution, actually prevents the formation of a dynamic price system necessary to optimize marketplace trades of medical goods and services. The analysis concludes that a universal attempt to purchase healthcare through capitation or any other insurance mechanism would render the reasonable attainment of social efficiency highly problematic. While in reality there are other identifiable species of risk (such as cost-utility risk), the analysis proceeds to hypothesize what a market-oriented managed care approach might look like within a two-dimensional risk matrix.  (+info)

(7/1275) Health outcomes and managed care: discussing the hidden issues.

Too often the debate over health outcomes and managed care has glossed over a series of complex social, political, and ethical issues. Exciting advances in outcomes research have raised hopes for logical medical reform. However, science alone will not optimize our patients' health, since value judgements are necessary and integral parts of attempts to improve health outcomes within managed care organizations. Therefore, to form healthcare policy that is both fair and efficient, we must examine the fundamental values and ethical concerns that are imbedded in our efforts to shape care. We must openly discuss the hidden issues including: (1) trade-offs between standardization of care and provider-patient autonomy; (2) effects of financial incentives on physicians' professionalism; (3) opportunity costs inherent in the design of insurance plans; (4) responsibilities of managed care plans for the health of the public; (5) judicious and valid uses of data systems; and (6) the politics of uncertainty.  (+info)

(8/1275) Revisiting community participation.

Community participation in health is a complex entity that has been examined extensively in the literature and continues to be of great interest among community health workers. The genesis of the idea and its conceptual development are primarily attributed to large multinational health institutions, particularly the World Health Organization. However, the implementation of community participation is the ultimate responsibility of local health programme initiators. It is therefore at the local level where day to day realities of incorporating community participation into health service delivery are confronted. This paper reviews the value of community participation in health and provides a detailed examination of the challenges facing its implementation and sustainability. In 1978, the World Health Organization placed community participation squarely at the centre of their strategy to achieve Health For All By The Year 2000. As the year 2000 nears, it is time to critically re-examine the notion of community participation and the most pressing challenges to its viability.  (+info)