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)
Health policy development in wartime: establishing the Baito health system in Tigray, Ethiopia.
This paper documents health experiences and the public health activities of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The paper provides background data about Tigray and the emergence of its struggle for a democratic Ethiopia. The origins of the armed struggle are described, as well as the impact of the conflict on local health systems and health status. The health-related activities and public health strategies of the TPLF are described and critiqued in some detail, particular attention is focused on the development of the baito system, the emergent local government structures kindled by the TPLF as a means of promoting local democracy, accountability, and social and economic development. Important issues arise from this brief case-study, such as how emerging health systems operating in wartime can ensure that not only are basic curative services maintained, but preventive and public health services are developed. Documenting the experiences of Tigray helps identify constraints and possibilities for assisting health systems to adapt and cope with ongoing conflict, and raises possibilities that in their aftermath they leave something which can be built upon and further developed. It appears that promoting effective local government may be an important means of promoting primary health care. (+info)
Reform follows failure: I. Unregulated private care in Lebanon.
This first of two papers on the health sector in Lebanon describes how unregulated development of private care quickly led to a crisis situation. Following the civil war the health care sector in Lebanon is characterized by (i) ambulatory care provided by private practitioners working as individual entrepreneurs, and, to a small extent, by NGO health centres; and (ii) by a fast increase in hi-tech private hospitals. The latter is fuelled by unregulated purchase of hospital care by the Ministry of Health and public insurance schemes. Health expenditure and financing patterns are described. The position of the public sector in this context is analyzed. In Lebanon unregulated private care has resulted in major inefficiencies, distortion of the health care system, the creation of a culture that is oriented to secondary care and technology, and a non-sustainable cost explosion. Between 1991 and 1995 this led to a financing and organizational crisis that is the background for growing pressure for reform. (+info)
Reform follows failure: II. Pressure for change in the Lebanese health sector.
This paper describes how, against a background of growing financial crisis, pressure for reform is building up in the Lebanese health care system. It describes the various agendas and influences that played a role. The Ministry of Health, backed by some international organizations, has started taking the lead in a reform that addresses both the way care is delivered and the way it is financed. The paper describes the interventions made to prepare reform. The experience in Lebanon shows that this preparation is a process of muddling through, experimentation and alliance building, rather than the marketing of an overall coherent blueprint. (+info)
Driving through: postpartum care during World War II.
In 1996, public outcry over shortened hospital stays for new mothers and their infants led to the passage of a federal law banning "drive-through deliveries." This recent round of brief postpartum stays is not unprecedented. During World War II, a baby boom overwhelmed maternity facilities in American hospitals. Hospital births became more popular and accessible as the Emergency Maternal and Infant Care program subsidized obstetric care for servicemen's wives. Although protocols before the war had called for prolonged bed rest in the puerperium, medical theory was quickly revised as crowded hospitals were forced to discharge mothers after 24 hours. To compensate for short inpatient stays, community-based services such as visiting nursing care, postnatal homes, and prenatal classes evolved to support new mothers. Fueled by rhetoric that identified maternal-child health as a critical factor in military morale, postpartum care during the war years remained comprehensive despite short hospital stays. The wartime experience offers a model of alternatives to legislation for ensuring adequate care of postpartum women. (+info)
Reform of health insurance in Croatia.
After democratic changes in 1990 and the declaration of independence in 1991, Croatia inherited an archaic system of economy, similar to all the other post-communist countries, which had especially negative effects on the health system. Health services were divided into 113 independent offices with their own local rules; they could not truly support the health care system, which gradually stagnated, both organizationally and technologically. Such an administrative system devoured 17.5% of the total funds, and primary care used only 10.3% of this. Despite the costly hospital medicine the entire system was financed with US$300 per citizen. The system was functioning only because of professionalism and enthusiasm of well-educated medical personnel. Such health policy had a negative effect on all levels of the system, with long-term consequences. The new health insurance system instituted a standard of 1,700 insureds per family medicine team, reducing hospital capacities to 3.8 beds per 1,000 citizens for acute illnesses. Computerization of the system makes possible the transparency of accounting income and expenses. In a relatively short period, in spite of the war, and in a complex, socially and ethically delicate area, Croatian Health Insurance Institute has successfully carried out the rationalization and control of spending, without lowering the level of health care or negatively influencing the vital statistics data. (+info)
Challenge of Goodness II: new humanitarian technology, developed in croatia and bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991-1995, and applied and evaluated in Kosovo 1999.
This paper presents improvements of the humanitarian proposals of the Challenge of Goodness project published earlier (1). In 1999 Kosovo crisis, these proposals were checked in practice. The priority was again on the practical intervention - helping people directly - to prevent, stop, and ease suffering. Kosovo experience also prompted us to modify the concept of the Challenge of Goodness. It should include research and education (1. redefinition of health, 2. confronting genocide, 3. university studies and education, and 4. collecting experience); evaluation (1. Red Cross forum, 2. organization and technology assessment, 3. Open Hand - Experience of Good People); activities in different stages of war or conflict in: 1. prevention (right to a home, Hate Watch, early warning), 2. duration (refugee camps, prisoners-of-war camps, global hospital, minorities), 3. end of conflict (planned, organized, and evaluated protection), 4. post conflict (remaini ng and abandoned populations, prisoners of war and missing persons, civilian participation, return, and renewal). Effectiveness of humanitarian intervention may be performed by politicians, soldiers, humanitarian workers, and volunteers, but the responsibility lies on science. Science must objectively collect data, develop hypotheses, check them in practice, allow education, and be the force of good, upon which everybody can rely. Never since the World War II has anybody in Europe suffered in war and conflict so much as peoples in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. We should search for the meaning of their suffering, and develop new knowledge and technology of peace. (+info)
Lessons on humanitarian assistance.
Conflict almost completely destroyed Rwanda's infrastructure in 1994. Natural disasters, as well as disasters caused by humans, have severely challenged humanitarian aid available within the country. In this study, we have analysed the experiences of nongovernmental organizations since the summer of 1994 to evaluate how these difficulties may be overcome. One of the problems identified has been restrictions on the ability to introduce effective health planning due to the poor quality of available local information. The implementation of effective plans that show due consideration to the environment and society is clearly necessary. Effective monitoring and detailed observation are identified as being essential to the continuity of existing humanitarian assistance. (+info)