Towards evidence-based health care reform.
Health care reform in Europe is discussed in the light of the Ljubljana Charter, with particular reference to progress made in Estonia and Lithuania. (+info)
Restructuring the primary health care services and changing profile of family physicians in Turkey.
A new health-reform process has been initiated by Ministry of Health in Turkey. The aim of that reform is to improve the health status of the Turkish population and to provide health care to all citizens in an efficient and equitable manner. The restructuring of the current health system will allow more funds to be allocated to primary and preventive care and will create a managed market for secondary and tertiary care. In this article, we review the current and proposed primary care services models and the role of family physicians therein. (+info)
Managing the health care market in developing countries: prospects and problems.
There is increasing interest in the prospects for managed market reforms in developing countries, stimulated by current reforms and policy debates in developed countries, and by perceptions of widespread public sector inefficiency in many countries. This review examines the prospects for such reforms in a developing country context, primarily by drawing on the arguments and evidence emerging from developed countries, with a specific focus on the provision of hospital services. The paper begins with a discussion of the current policy context of these reforms, and their main features. It argues that while current and proposed reforms vary in detail, most have in common the introduction of competition in the provision of health care, with the retention of a public monopoly of financing, and that this structure emerges from the dual goals of addressing current public sector inefficiencies while retaining the known equity and efficiency advantages of public health systems. The paper then explores the theoretical arguments and empirical evidence for and against these reforms, and examines their relevance for developing countries. Managed markets are argued to enhance both efficiency and equity. These arguments are analysed in terms of three distinct claims made by their proponents: that managed markets will promote increased provider competition, and hence, provider efficiency; that contractual relationships are more efficient than direct management; and that the benefits of managed markets will outweigh their costs. The analysis suggests that on all three issues, the theoretical arguments and empirical evidence remain ambiguous, and that this ambiguity is attributable in part to poor understanding of the behaviour of health sector agents within the market, and to the limited experience with these reforms. In the context of developing countries, the paper argues that most of the conditions required for successful implementation of these reforms are absent in all but a few, richer developing countries, and that the costs of these reforms, particularly in equity terms, are likely to pose substantial problems. Extensive managed market reforms are therefore unlikely to succeed, although limited introduction of particular elements of these reforms may be more successful. Developed country experience is useful in defining the conditions under which such limited reforms may succeed. There is an urgent need to evaluate the existing experience of different forms of contracting in developing countries, as well as to interpret emerging evidence from developed country reforms in the light of conditions in developing countries. (+info)
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)
Donor funding for health reform in Africa: is non-project assistance the right prescription?
During the past 10 years, donors have recognized the need for major reforms to achieve sustainable development. Using non-project assistance they have attempted to leverage reforms by offering financing conditioned on the enactment of reform. The experience of USAID's health reform programmes in Niger and Nigeria suggest these programmes have proved more difficult to implement than expected. When a country has in place a high level of fiscal accountability and high institutional capacity, programmes of conditioned non-project assistance may be more effective in achieving reforms than traditional project assistance. However, when these elements are lacking, as they were in Niger, non-project assistance offers nothing inherently superior than traditional project assistance. Non-project assistance may be most effective for assisting the implementation of policy reforms adopted by the host government. (+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)
Overview: health financing reforms in Africa.(7/1516)
The impact of alternative cost recovery schemes on access and equity in Niger.
The authors examine accessibility and the sustainability of quality health care in a rural setting under two alternative cost recovery methods, a fee-for-service method and a type of social financing (risk-sharing) strategy based on an annual tax+fee-for-service. Both methods were accompanied by similar interventions aimed at improving the quality of primary health services. Based on pilot tests of cost recovery in the non-hospital sector in Niger, the article presents results from baseline and final survey data, as well as from facility utilization, cost, and revenue data collected in two test districts and a control district. Cost recovery accompanied by quality improvements increases equity and access to health care and the type of cost recovery method used can make a difference. In Niger, higher access for women, children, and the poor resulted from the tax+fee method, than from the pure fee-for-service method. Moreover, revenue generation per capita under the tax+fee method was two times higher than under the fee-for-service method, suggesting that the prospects of sustainability were better under the social financing strategy. However, sustainability under cost recovery and improved quality depends as much on policy measures aimed at cost containment, particularly for drugs, as on specific cost recovery methods. (+info)