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Essential medicines for mothers and children: a key element of health systems. Access to medicines and public pharmaceutical policy.
Entre Nous. 2009; (68):14-15.Medicines, when used appropriately, are one of the most cost effective interventions in health care. European countries spend an important part of their health budget on medicines, from 12% on average for the EU countries to more than 30% for the Newly Independent States (NIS) countries. Whereas in EU countries the larger part of the medicines expenditures are publicly funded through taxes and/or social health insurance, in the NIS and in the south eastern European countries it is often the patients who have to pay directly for the drugs themselves. This means that many patients simply do not get the drugs they need because they cannot afford them, and also may force families to incur enormous expenses as they sell their belongings in order to pay for their drugs and their health care.
Fees-for-services, cost recovery, and equity in a district of Burkina Faso operating the Bamako Initiative. [Prestation de services, couverture des coûts et équité dans une région au Burkina-Faso exploitant l'Initiative de Bamako]
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2003 Jul; 81(7):532-538.Objective: To gauge the effects of operating the Bamako Initiative in Kongoussi district, Burkina Faso. Methods: Qualitative and quasi-experimental quantitative methodologies were used. Findings: Following the introduction of fees-for-services in July 1997, the number of consultations for curative care fell over a period of three years by an average of 15.4% at ‘‘case’’ health centres but increased by 30.5% at ‘‘control’’ health centres. Moreover, although the operational results for essential drugs depots were not known, expenditure increased on average 2.7 times more than income and did not keep pace with the decline in the utilization of services. Persons in charge of the management committees had difficulties in releasing funds to ensure access to care for the poor. Conclusion: The introduction of fees-for-services had an adverse effect on service utilization. The study district is in a position to bear the financial cost of taking care of the poor and the community is able to identify such people. Incentivesmust be introduced by the state and be swiftly applied so that the communities agree to a more equitable system and thereby allow access to care for those excluded from services because they are unable to pay. (author's)
HEALTH POLICY AND PLANNING. 1990 Jun; 5(2):186-9.WHO and UNICEF joined forces to support the Bamako Initiative agreed upon by African ministers of health at a 1987 meeting. Primary health care (PHC) should be advanced by identifying and introducing self-financing mechanisms at the district level (specifically, revenue from drug sales), securing a constant supply of drugs, and promoting social mobilization. UNICEF has produced several policy papers on recurrent costs and the sales of drugs. The 1988 UNICEF policy paper Problems and Priorities Regarding Current Costs reviews UNICEF practices of financing programs and proposes recommendations. For example, about 40% of program expenditure goes to recurrent costs, especially the financing of drugs and vaccines. Another 1988 UNICEF working paper is Community Financing Experiences for Local Health Services in Africa, which reviews 3 case studies on community financing. Today, however, UNICEF no longer considers drug cost recovery as essential to the Bamako Initiative. In July 1989, the WHO Regional Office for Africa published Guidelines for the Implementation of the Bamako Initiative. Charging for Drugs in Africa: UNICEF's 'Bamako Initiative' (1989) critiques UNICEF's policy in the context of the IMF and the World Bank adjustment programs. Availability of Pharmaceuticals in sub-Saharan Africa: Roles of Public, Private and Church Mission Sectors (1989) highlights the success of cost recovery in church mission health care and the efficiency of distribution through the commercial sector. Its authors consider the Bamako Initiative to be unrealistic. One of the first shots at reviewing community financing experiences is the 1982 article, Community Financing of PHC. Other works are Financing PHC Programmes (Christian Medical Commission), Financing PHC: Experiences in Pharmaceutical Cost Recovery (PRITECH), WHO's Financing Essential Drugs, and A Price to Pay: The Impact of User Charges in Ashanti-Akim District, Ghana.