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Health Policy and Planning

Leon Bijlmakers, Dennis Cornelissen, Mweene Cheelo, Mzaza Nthele, John Kachimba, Henk Broekhuizen, Jakub Gajewski, Ruairí Brugha
The lack of access to quality-assured surgery in rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where the numbers of trained health workers are often insufficient, presents challenges for national governments. The case for investing in scaling up surgical systems in low-resource settings is 3-fold: the potential beneficial impact on a large proportion of the global burden of disease; better access for rural populations who have the greatest unmet need; and the economic case. The economic losses from untreated surgical conditions far exceed any expenditure that would be required to scale up surgical care...
November 6, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Peter Binyaruka, Bjarne Robberstad, Gaute Torsvik, Josephine Borghi
The impact of payment-for-performance (P4P) schemes in the health sector has been documented, but there has been little attention to the distributional effects of P4P across health facilities. We examined the distribution of P4P payouts over time and assessed whether increased service coverage due to P4P differed across facilities in Tanzania. We used two service outcomes that improved due to P4P [facility-based deliveries and provision of antimalarials during antenatal care (ANC)], to also assess whether incentive design matters for performance inequalities...
October 31, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Pablo Villalobos Dintrans
Similar to many other countries, Chile is facing the challenges of rapid ageing and the increase in long-term care (LTC) needs for this population. Implementation of LTC systems has been the response to these challenges in other countries, however, Chile still lacks a strategy for addressing LTC needs. This article advocates for the implementation of a LTC system in Chile, demonstrating that this could be an effective and efficient response to cope with the current and future challenges faced by the country...
October 26, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Sachiko Ozawa, Manuela Villar-Uribe, Daniel R Evans, Vivek Kulkarni, Por Ir
Unnecessary injections increase the risk of blood-borne infections as well as pose an avoidable financial burden on patients. Perceptions in rural Cambodia that medical drug injections provide the best quality medical care have resulted in a large proportion of the population seeking injections across medical conditions. As private providers have a higher propensity to offer injections, patients pursue more expensive care contributing to a greater financial burden. This study aimed to use an educational intervention to improve participant knowledge about injections and health insurance in order to build informed trust in safer injection practices and health insurance...
October 11, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Isabella Epiu, Godfrey Alia, John Mukisa, Paula Tavrow, Mohammed Lamorde, Andreas Kuznik
In Africa, about 33 000 cases of obstetric fistula occur each year. Women with fistula experience debilitating incontinence of urine and/or faeces and are often socially ostracized. Worldwide, Uganda ranks third among countries with the highest burden of obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula repair competes for scarce resources with other healthcare interventions in resource-limited settings, even though it is surgically efficacious. There is limited documentation of its cost-effectiveness in the most affected settings...
September 24, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Maryse C Kok, Frédérique Vallières, Olivia Tulloch, Meghan B Kumar, Aschenaki Z Kea, Robinson Karuga, Sozinho D Ndima, Kingsley Chikaphupha, Sally Theobald, Miriam Taegtmeyer
Supportive supervision is an important element of community health worker (CHW) programmes and is believed to improve CHW motivation and performance. A group supervision intervention, which included training and mentorship of supervisors, was implemented in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique. In three of the countries, this was combined with individual and/or peer supervision. A mixed-methods implementation study was conducted to assess the effect of the supervision intervention on CHWs' perceptions of supervision and CHW motivation-related outcomes...
September 21, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Rebecca Dodd, Anna Palagyi, Laura Guild, Vivekanand Jha, Stephen Jan
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a significant and growing driver of the global non-communicable diseases (NCD) burden, responsible for 1.2 million deaths in 2016. While previous research has estimated the out-of-pocket costs of CKD treatment and resulting levels of catastrophic health expenditures, less is known about the impact of such costs on access to, and maintenance of, care. Our study seeks to fill this gap by synthesizing available evidence on cost as a determinant of CKD treatment discontinuation. We searched for studies which considered the financial burden of treatment and medication for CKD patients and the extent to which this burden was associated with patients forgoing or discontinuing treatment...
September 21, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
K Scott, N Jessani, M Qiu, S Bennett
Health policy and systems research (HPSR) is vital to guiding global institutions, funders, policymakers, activists and implementers in developing and enacting strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We undertook a multi-stage participatory process to identify priority research questions relevant to improving accountability within health systems. We conducted interviews (n = 54) and focus group discussions (n = 2) with policymakers from international and national bodies (ministries of health, other government agencies and technical support institutions) across the WHO regions...
September 20, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Vannarath Te, Rachel Griffiths, Kristy Law, Peter S Hill, Peter Leslie Annear
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC) was inaugurated in December 2015 with the primary aim of achieving a strong and prosperous community through accelerating economic integration. The notion of a single market, underpinned by the free flow of trade in services and skilled labour, is integral to the spirit of the AEC. To facilitate the intra-regional mobility of health professionals, Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) were signed, for nursing in 2006 and for medicine and dentistry in 2009, and now sit within the AEC objectives...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Ngan Do, Young Kyung Do
Although many public hospital physicians in Vietnam offer private service on the side, little is known about the magnitude and nature of the phenomenon so-called dual practice, let alone the dynamics between the public and private health sectors. This study investigates how and to what degree public hospital physicians engage in private practice. It also examines the commitment of dual practitioners to the public sector. The analysis is based on a hospital-based survey of 483 physicians at 10 public hospitals in four provinces of Vietnam...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Hoa Thi Nguyen, David Zombré, Valery Ridde, Manuela De Allegri
User fee reduction and removal policies have been the object of extensive research, but little rigorous evidence exists on their sustained effects in relation to use of delivery care services, and no evidence exists on the effects of partial reduction compared with full removal of user fees. We aimed to fill these knowledge gaps by assessing sustained effects of both partial reduction and complete removal of user fees on utilization of facility-based delivery. Our study took place in four districts in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, where the national user fee reduction policy (SONU) launched in 2007 (lowering fees at point of use by 80%) co-existed with a user fee removal pilot launched in 2008...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Shiwei Gong, Hongbing Cai, Yufeng Ding, Weijie Li, Xu Juan, Jinlan Peng, Si Jin
Based on the high prevalence and undiagnosed rate of diabetes mellitus in China in recent years, the aim of this work was to evaluate the availability, price and affordability of pharmacotherapy for diabetes in public hospitals in Hubei province, China. In 2016, a cross-sectional survey was conducted using World Health Organization/Health Action International (WHO/HAI) methodology. Information on the availability and prices of 20 antidiabetic drugs was collected from 34 public hospitals representing three levels of care...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Hinda Ruton, Angele Musabyimana, Erick Gaju, Atakilt Berhe, Karen A Grépin, Joseph Ngenzi, Emmanuel Nzabonimana, Michael R Law
Maternal and child mortality rates remain unacceptably high globally, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. A popular approach to counter these high rates is interventions delivered using mobile phones (mHealth). However, few mHealth interventions have been implemented nationwide and there has been little evaluation of their effectiveness, particularly at scale. Therefore, we evaluated the Rwanda RapidSMS programme-one of the few mHealth programmes in Africa that is currently operating nationwide. Using interrupted time series analysis and monthly data routinely reported by public health centres (n = 461) between 2012 and 2016, we studied the impact of RapidSMS on four indicators: completion of four antenatal care visits, deliveries in a health facility, postnatal care visits and malnutrition screening...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Katerini Tagmatarchi Storeng, Antoine de Bengy Puyvallée
The growth of global public-private partnerships for health has opened up new spaces for civil society participation in global health governance. Such participation is often justified by the claim that civil society organizations, because of their independence and links to communities, can help address democratic deficits in global-level decision-making processes. This article examines the notion of 'civil society engagement' within major public-private partnerships for health, where civil society is often said to play a particularly important role in mediating between public and private spheres...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Adélio Fernandes Antunes, Bart Jacobs, Richard de Groot, Kouland Thin, Piya Hanvoravongchai, Steffen Flessa
Since the end of its internal conflict in 1998, Cambodia has experienced tremendous developments in the social, economic and health sectors, with the government embarking on substantial reforms in health financing. Health equity funds that have improved access to public health services for poor people have gradually been extended to the entire country. Using the World Health Organization's methods for the analysis of healthcare expenditure and household survey data from the 2004, 2009 and 2014 Cambodian Socio-Economic Survey, we assessed trends in reported illness, utilization of healthcare services and associated financial burden on households...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Edson Serván-Mori, Carlos Chivardi, Miguel Ángel Mendoza, Gustavo Nigenda
We assess technical efficiency (TE) level for Mexican Ministry of Health (MoH) primary care units. Assessment was focused on the production of adequate maternal health services defined as the coverage level of women who received timely and frequent antenatal care, and institutional and medical care during childbirth. We conducted a longitudinal analysis of administrative and socio-demographic information concerning 233 health jurisdictions for the period 2008-15. Crude TE was calculated using window data envelopment analysis (Windows-DEA)...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Steven F Koch
We present a revised method for estimating equivalence scales. Such scales are used to adjust household welfare to account for the size of the household, and are used extensively in the application of the World Health Organization's (WHO) methodology for the evaluation of catastrophic health payments. Applications of the WHO method are underpinned by early estimates that do not control for household income, and, therefore, are likely to overstate equivalence. Thus, in addition to revising the method, we update the scale estimates for one country, South Africa, using more recent data...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Aisling Walsh, Anne Matthews, Lucinda Manda-Taylor, Ruairi Brugha, Daniel Mwale, Tamara Phiri, Elaine Byrne
Traditional leaders play a prominent role at the community level in Malawi, yet limited research has been undertaken on their role in relation to policy implementation. This article seeks to analyse the role of traditional leaders in implementing national maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) policy and programmes at the community level. We consider whether the role of the chief embodies a top-down (utilitarian) or bottom-up (empowerment) approach to MNCH policy implementation. Primary data were collected in 2014/15, through 85 in-depth interviews and 20 focus group discussions in two districts in Malawi...
October 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Susan Cleary, Ermin Erasmus, Lucy Gilson, Catherine Michel, Artur Gremu, Kenneth Sherr, Jill Olivier
Health system strengthening (HSS) has often been undertaken by global health actors working through vertical programmes. However, experience has shown the challenges of this approach, and the need to recognize health systems as open complex adaptive systems-which in turn has implications for the design and implementation approach of more 'horizontal' HSS interventions. From 2009 to 2016, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation supported the African Health Initiative, establishing Population Health Implementation and Training partnerships in five African countries (Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia)...
September 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
Rakesh Gupta, Ruby Nimesh, Girdhari Lal Singal, Parveen Bhalla, Shankar Prinja
The Government of India launched a nationwide programme to save and educate the girl child, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (B3P), by stringent prohibition of sex-selective abortion, enforcement of Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Technique (PC-PNDT) and Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Acts, and social mobilization. We undertook this study to assess the effectiveness of intervention in Haryana state to improve sex ratio at birth (SRB). The monthly data on SRB (represented as girls per 1000 boys) were collected from civil registration system for the entire state of Haryana to evaluate the impact of B3P programme...
September 1, 2018: Health Policy and Planning
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