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Global Health Action. 2015 Sep 18; 8:29034.Background: Health equity is a priority in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and other major health initiatives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a history of promoting actions to achieve equity in health, including efforts to encourage the practice of health inequality monitoring. Health inequality monitoring systems use disaggregated data to identify disadvantaged subgroups within populations and inform equity-oriented health policies, programs, and practices. Objective: This paper provides an overview of a number of recent and current WHO initiatives related to health inequality monitoring at the global and/or national level. Design: We outline the scope, content, and intended uses / application of the following: Health Equity Monitor database and theme page; State of inequality: reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health report; Handbook on health inequality monitoring: with a focus on low- and middle-income countries; Health inequality monitoring eLearning module; Monitoring health inequality: an essential step for achieving health equity advocacy booklet and accompanying video series; and capacity building workshops conducted in WHO Member States and Regions. Conclusions: The paper concludes by considering how the work of the WHO can be expanded upon to promote the establishment of sustainable and robust inequality monitoring systems across a variety of health topics among Member States and at the global level. Copyright: 2015 World Health Organization. Open Access.
Strong ministries for strong health systems. An overview of the study report: Supporting Ministerial Health Leadership: A Strategy for Health Systems Strengthening.
[Kampala], Uganda, African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation [ACHEST], 2010 Jan.  p.This overview is adapted from the report Supporting Ministerial Health Leadership: A Strategy for Health Systems Strengthening by Dr. Francis Omaswa, executive director and founder of The African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) and Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, president of The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). The study and report were commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation to explore the feasibility of establishing a support mechanism for ministers and ministries of health especially in the poorest countries, as part of the Foundation’s Transforming Health Systems initiative, The study was initially designed to assess the potential value of three proposed programs to strengthen the leadership capabilities of ministers of health: a global executive leadership program for new ministers; an ongoing, regional, in-person and virtual leadership support program for sitting ministers; and a virtual global resource center for ministers and high level ministerial officials providing real-time access to information. During the course of the study, it became clear that it was essential to expand the inquiry to better understand the challenges and needs of ministries as a whole, as they and their ministers provide the stewardship function for country health systems.The content of the report was derived from six major activities:a comprehensive literature review of the theory and practice of effective leadership development and organizational capacity building, and an environmental scan to identify any existing or planned leadership development programs for ministers of health or any that have occurred in the recent past globally; a survey of the turnover of ministers of health; targeted interviews with ministers, former ministers, and key stakeholders who interact with them, conducted between October 2008 and September 2009, to better understand the roles of ministers and ministries, the challenges they face, resources at their disposal, and their thoughts on what additional resources might enhance their personal effectiveness and that of their ministries; a consultative meeting of experts and stakeholders held in Bellagio, Italy part way through the project; participation of the project leaders (Omaswa and Boufford) in relevant global and regional meetings, as well as individual meetings about the project with critical leaders in international and donor organizations and potential champions of this effort; and a consultation with African regional health leaders to discuss the final report, held in Kampala, Uganda. (Excerpt).
The World Health Organization European Health in Prisons project after 10 years: persistent barriers and achievements.
American Journal of Public Health. 2005 Oct; 95(10):1696-1700.The recognition that good prison health is important to general public health has led 28 countries in the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) to join a WHO network dedicated to improving health within prisons. Within the 10 years since that time, vital actions have been taken and important policy documents have been produced. A key factor in making progress is breaking down the isolation of prison health services and bringing them into closer collaboration with the country’s public health services. However, barriers to progress remain. A continuing challenge is how best to move from policy recommendations to implementation, so that the network’s fundamental aim of noticeable improvements in the health and care of prisoners is further achieved. (author's)
American Journal of Public Health. 2005 Jan; 95(1):8.The term global as applied to human development emerged in the 1960s at the time of the green revolution, when the World Bank advocated the need to “think globally, act locally.” The terms global, international, and intergovernmental have different roots and translate differently in policy; institutional functions; and level of analysis, action, and accountability. They are not mutually exclusive. While the term international has framed much of the work in health across countries over the past decades, the term global has become more politically viable in that it elevates the vision of health to the whole planet, moving beyond geopolitical boundaries and including not only governments but nongovernmental stakeholders and actors. The World Health Organization (WHO), created shortly after World War II as a specialized, intergovernmental agency, is intended to lead and coordinate the health actions of governments worldwide. The work of WHO is facilitated when consensus is reached among countries on global priorities, as was the case for malaria and smallpox eradication in the 1960s, primary health care and immunization in the 1970s, and the Global Program on HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. (excerpt)
Indian Journal of Community Medicine. 2002 Jul-Sep; 27(3): p..Health systems have undergone overlapping generations of reforms in the past 100 years, including the founding of national health care systems and extension of social insurance schemes. Subsequently to realize the goal of "Health for all" the system of primary health care was adopted the world over. The system of primary health care paid too little attention to the people's demand for health care and it concentrated exclusively on the perceived needs. In the past decade or so there has been gradual shift of vision towards what WHO calls the "New Universalism" high quality delivery of essential care, defined mostly by criterion of cost-effectiveness, for everyone, rather than all possible care for the whole population or only the simplest and most basic care for the poor. (excerpt)
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION TECHNICAL REPORT SERIES. 1994; (845):i-iv, 1-31.This World Health Organization expert committee report presents chapters on new public health action towards health for all; current issues in health information; health information needs at the district level; methods for collecting and processing information; the analysis, presentation, and reporting of health information; facilitating the use of health information; and resources and management support to district health information development. Many countries in recent years have developed national health information systems to supply a range of essential health information for national policy making and health planning. National health systems at the district level are closely involved in data collection and reporting. These systems face the challenges of how to continue supporting district-level managers in implementing primary health care and how to decide what new information will be required at the local level, especially for monitoring the equity, coverage, quality, and efficiency of health interventions, as a country undergoes major health system reforms. Health information systems suffer from a number of well-known problems, with further improvements still required in data collection processes, methods of analysis, use of microcomputers and informatics, and the presentation and communication of health information. These new challenges emphasize the critical need that all countries have for reliable, relevant, timely, and useful health information. Recommendations are made for member states and the World Health Organization.
Eradication of indigenous transmission of wild poliovirus in the Americas. Plan of action, July 1985.
[Washington, D.C.], PAHO, 1985 Jul. 26 p. (EPI-85-102; CD31/7 Annex II)The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) appointed a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) which met in July 1985 to plan eradication of wild poliovirus in the Americas by 1990 by immunization and surveillance. The strategies to be adopted are mobilization of national resources; vaccine coverage of 80% or more of the target population; surveillance to detect all cases; laboratory diagnosis; information dissemination; identification and funding of research needs; development of a certification protocol; and evaluation of ongoing program activities. The expanded immunization program (EPI) will be organized at the country level by setting up National Work Plans, with inventories of resources and identification of participating agencies and donors, under the guidance of national EPI offices. The TAG will be composed of a core of 5 experts on immunization, with additional consultants as needed, meeting quarterly, semi-annually or annually to review progress and publish recommendations. Regional EPI offices will coordinate eradication activities between the Ministries of Health, the 10-11 epidemiologists/technical advisors in each country and all agencies affiliated with the PAHO. Support personnel will be available at the sub-regional and regional level, including support virologists to assist the laboratory network. Appendices are attached showing estimated costs for regional and regional personnel, vaccines, laboratories, and program activities, predicting that the effort will pay for itself 2.3 times over by 2000.
Tokyo, Japan, WHO, 1994 Mar. 13 p.During Cambodia's transition to a parliamentary democracy, the World Health Organization (WHO) assisted various administrative authorities as they determined immediate health policies and strategies and established mechanisms for national and international coordination of health activities. WHO identified national requirements that formed the foundation for a national health development process and of de facto policies and strategies. The generation of war and suffering had the most impact on women and children (e.g., maternal mortality 900/100,000 live births and child mortality >200/1000). Significant conditions in Cambodia include malaria, dengue hemorrhagic fever, tuberculosis, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, and loss of limbs and other physical injuries. The Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for health care for almost the entire population. The priority health development strategy is improving district health systems in support of community health services. The currently managed vertical programs will eventually be integrated and managed as one comprehensive health service system from the provincial level. The human resource development strategy includes workforce planning and management, continuing education, and formal training. Cambodia's system of procurement and distribution of essential drugs, supplies, and equipment of public sector health facilities needs to be improved. WHO is supporting Cambodia's expanded program on immunization. MOH considers reduction of maternal and young child mortality a top priority and is promoting birth spacing. Mental health problems have not been traditionally addressed in Cambodia. The government plans on establishing a central program of planning and management to support and develop mental health services. Other areas WHO and MOH are addressing include nutrition, health and environment, and health sector resources (e.g., health personnel, capital investment).
Social Science and Medicine. 1987; 25(6):615-20.It is expected that community involvement in health policy be not only cost-effective but also the best way of providing comprehensive solutions to public health problems. Over 50 years of experience in India show that public enthusiasm does tend to wane after a short period of time, but efforts continue to be made. Governmental and other organizations and UN agencies have been active in promoting the concept of community involvement. The best that can be expected is that people will come forward voluntarily to participate in public health programs formulated by governments and other agencies. Generally, however, public cooperation has to be sought and participation motivated. There is little support for coercive measures. Community participation is often hampered by a wide range of factors including: difficult terrain; inegalitarian social structure; the tendency to depend on others to look after one's needs; and the absence of an understanding of healthful conditions and practices. Also, bureaucrats and medical professionals often consider community involvement an interference. Nevertheless individuals and organizations are everywhere engaged in experiments in such involvement, and certain Indian projects have provided valuable insights which may be of use in other developing countries.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1983 Fall; 61(4):659-86.In this examination of Saudi Arabia's health care accomplishments, it is argued that the World Health Organization's primary health care model is not the most appropriate for Saudi Arabia and countries like it. Saudi Arabia's health care policy is closely linked to its very rapid emergence as a new and distinctive society. Whereas most developing countries export physicians, Saudi Arabia imports them because the demand for physicians services cannot be met by the supply of indigenous physicians. Saudi health care development is very different from that of most of the third world. Although the country does have a great deal of western technology, Saudi Arabia seems to be following a different course of development from both the third world and the West. Unlike the West, the cost of medial technolgoy is not a problem for Saudi Arabia. Rather, it solves the problem of how to allocate its oil wealth to maintain political stability. The Saudis intend to make the best health care available to all its citizens; they are very concerned about the effect of modern technology on tradition. Therefore, the selection of technology is based on its cultural compatability, rather than on its costs. Primary care may be more technological and specialized than in the West. In Saudi Arabia primary health care may eventually be delivered entirely by specialists, rather than by general or family practitioners. The Saudis are expected to develop a health care system that will meet their particular needs. As with Saudi Arabia itself, health care is experiencing unprecedented change. Thus, the emerging Saudi system will be unique and innovative. Some of its accomplishments will be adopted by other developing countries; Western countries may look to Saudi Arabia as a natural laboratory of health care experimentation.
Primary health care and traditional medicine: considering the background of changing health concepts in Africa.
Social Science and Medicine. 1979 Sep; 13B(3):175-82.The stress placed on utilizing traditional medical practitioners in fulfilling the basic health needs for citizens of developing countries and the reasons behind the recent enthusiastic endorsement by international agencies and national governments of the primary health care strategy were examined in reference to Africa. In attempting to provide low cost alternative health care systems in Africa, considerable attention was given to developing schemes for integrating traditional medical practitioners into the health care system. Despite these efforts, little integration has occurred. The development of a collaborative form of integration between these two types of medical systems, except in such areas as the utilization of traditional birth attendants, is impossible. In the treatment and diagnosis of disease Western medicine demands the acceptance of the scientific etiology of disease, and this view clashes with traditional conceptions of disease etiology. Under these conditions the only type of integration that can occur is a structural one in which traditional medicine is placed in a subordinate position to Western medicine. Currently, this problem is reflected by the fact that most programs stress the recruitment of young men and women from rural areas for training programs in which only Western oriented medical concepts are taught. Despite the fact that the need to improve the health status of rural populations has been recognized for a long time, concerted efforts to deal with the problem have only recently been undertaken. These recent efforts are economically motivated. The economic value of rural populations as a source for fulfilling the labor needs of urban residents and as a market for the consumer goods produced by urban dwellers has only recently been realized. In order to preserve this labor and market resource, the health and well-being of rural dwellers must now be promoted. Furthermore, the initial emphasis on community involvement in health related decision making has all but disappeared. The seriousness of the committment of agencies and governments to promote community development must, therefore, be questioned.