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  1. 1

    Blind optimism: Challenging the myths about private health care in poor countries.

    Marriott A

    Oxford, United Kingdom, Oxfam International, 2009 Feb. 55 p. (Oxfam Briefing Paper No. 125)

    'The realization of the right to health for millions of people in poor countries depends upon a massive increase in health services to achieve universal and equitable access. A growing number of international donors are promoting an expansion of private-sector health-care delivery to fulfil this goal. The private sector can play a role in health care. But this paper shows there is an urgent need to reassess the arguments used in favor of scaling-up private-sector provision in poor countries. The evidence shows that prioritizing this approach is extremely unlikely to deliver health for poor people. Governments and rich country donors must strengthen state capacities to regulate and focus on the rapid expansion of free publicly provided health care, a proven way to save millions of lives worldwide. (Excerpt)
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  2. 2

    The role of health centres in the development of urban health systems: report of a WHO Study Group on Primary Health Care in Urban Areas.

    World Health Organization [WHO]. Study Group on Primary Health Care in Urban Areas


    The WHO Study Group on Primary Health Care (PHC) in Urban Areas has written a report after examining the development of reference health centers in urban areas in various parts of the world. It considers such centers to be a potentially important way to improve urban health services. Reference health centers, with real roots in the community and good links to first level and referral level care, can address the problems of access to health care and intersectoral collaboration. Each center should be based on a general model, but its exact operation depends on local conditions and on a comprehensive situation analysis that considers social and financial factors and the level of organizational development. Each reference center should determine what needs to be done locally with local and national resources. Outside donors should only provide assistance for operational costs and a last resort. To plan services adequately, decision makers must define geographical catchment areas and travel times. These definitions must see to it that services integrate with each other vertically (with services at health post and hospital levels), and horizontally (with government, and nongovernmental, and community projects). A solid epidemiological understanding of major local health problems is essential for expanding PHC through reference health centers. This knowledge comes from an assessment of demographic, morbidity, mortality, and social data an evaluation of coverage of underserved and marginal groups. Reference health centers would be in an ideal position to gather and analyze these data. Innovative ways to obtain the resources for urban PHC are collection of user fees and close supportive links with universities and nongovernmental organizations. The Study Group looks at how reference health centers in Cali, Colombia; Manila, the Philippines; and Newark, New Jersey in the US, developed.
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    India urged to rethink family planning programme.

    Kumar S

    Lancet. 1995 Jul 29; 346(8970):301.

    The World Bank, in "India's Welfare Programme: Towards a Reproductive and Child Health Approach," a review done with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, makes the following recommendations: 1) eliminate method-specific contraceptive targets and incentives, and replace them with broad reproductive and child health goals and measures; 2) increase the emphasis on male contraceptive methods (which account currently for only 6% of contraceptive use); 3) improve access to reproductive and child health services; 4) increase the role of the private sector by revitalizing the social marketing program; and 5) encourage experimentation with an expanded role for the private sector in implementing publicly funded programs. Since the launch of the family planning program in 1951, mortality has fallen by two-thirds, and life expectancy at birth has almost doubled. However, the population has almost doubled since 1961. By 2025, it is expected to be 1.5-1.9 billion. By 1992, India had achieved 60% of its goal for replacement fertility (2.1 births per woman), decreasing from 6 births per woman in 1951-1961 to 3-4 births per woman. Meeting India's unmet need for family planning would allow the replacement fertility goal to be reached. Female education and employment would add to the demand for smaller families and assure continuing declines in fertility and population growth rate. The report also highlights problems in implementation of the program, including program accessibility and quality of care. The report cites National Family Health Survey data which shows that only 35% of children under 2 received all six vaccines in the program, while 30% received none. The bank's "1993 World Development Report" recommended spending $5.40 per head for maternal and child health and family welfare programs; India spends $0.60. Massive borrowing will be required.
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  4. 4
    Peer Reviewed

    Health still only for some by the year 2000?

    Schuftan C

    JOURNAL OF TROPICAL PEDIATRICS. 1989 Aug; 35(4):197-8.

    The 'Child Survival Revolution' (CSR) which emphasizes the technological approaches of Primary Health Care (PHC) as defined in Alma Ata, disregards the structural conditions and processes that lead to seldom diminishing morbidity and mortality rates among the poor in the Third World. The CSR may save some lives, but will not attack the underlying and basic causes of child mortality in developing countries. We must not rely on GOBI as a technical solution to what is essentially a socioeconomic and political problem. Choices to seek or not to seek better health for family members are all intimately linked to the state of poverty of most potential beneficiaries of GOBI-FF. Some additional empowerment of the people is needed for meaningful choices to become realistic options. GOBI-FF and the CSR are a combination of new technologies communicated by social marketing with mostly a top-down implementation, taking for granted the existing social and political institutions. Although the messages of the program call for political will, for social mobilization, for involvement of the population, and for changes in the health infrastructure, these concepts are used in a very inconsistent, demagogic, fuzzy and empty way. GOBI is too strongly supply oriented and ignores the social constraints behind a weak demand for the effective utilization of existing or new health services. Third World countries often end up following rules dictated from or set-up outside the country. Social marketing too, makes people mostly consumers, not protagonists and promoters. People need access to significant remedial interventions; knowledge is not enough. Evidence shows that people are 'patterning' their behavior to what the provider wants from them just to receive the program's benefits. Health professionals must help create the necessary support systems to empower the poor. (author's modified)
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  5. 5

    Annual report of the director, 1984.

    Pan American Health Organization [PAHO]

    Washington, D.C., PAHO, Pan American Sanitary Bureau/Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 1985. xix, 265 p. (Official Document No. 201)

    Efforts to meet the goal of health for all by the year 2000 have been hampered by the internal and external problems faced by many countries of the Americas. The pressures of external debt have been accompanied by a reduction in the resources allocated to social sector programs, including health programs. In addition, the conflict in Central America has constrained solutions to subregional problems. The health sector suffers from uncoordinated services, lack of trained personnel, and waste. Thus 30-40% of the population do not have access to basic health services. In 1984, the governments in the region, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), undertook projects in 5 action areas: new approaches and technology, development, intra- and intersectoral linkages, joint activities by groups of countries, mobilization of national resources and external financing, and preparation of PAHO to meet the needs of these processes. New approaches include the expansion of epidemiological capabilities and practices, the use of low-cost infant survival strategies, the improvement of rural water supplies, and the development of domestic technology. Interorganizational linkages are aimed at eliminating duplication and filling in gaps. Ministers of health and directors of social security programs are working together to rationalize the health sector and extend coverage of services. Similarly, countries have grouped to deal with common problems and offer coordinated solutions. The mobilization of national resources involves shifting resources into the health field and increasing their efficiency and effectiveness by setting priorities. External resources are recommended if they supplement national efforts and are short-term in nature. In order to enhance these strategies, PAHO has increased the managerial and operating capacity of its central and field offices. This has required consolidating programs, retraining staff, and instituting information systems to monitor activities and budgets. The report summarizes health indicators and activities by country, for all nations under PAHO.
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  6. 6

    Report on the evaluation of the UNFPA-supported women, population and development projects in Indonesia (INS/79/P20 and INS/83/P02) and of the role of women in three other UNFPA-supported projects in Indonesia (INS/77/P03, INS/79/P04, and INS/79/P16).

    Concepcion MB; Thein TM; Simonen M

    New York, New York, United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA], 1984 Apr. vi, 52 p.

    The Evaluation Mission analyzes and assess the 2 United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)-supported Women, Population and Development Projects and the role of women in 3 other UNFPA-assisted projects in Indonesia. The Mission concluded that the family planning and cooperative/income generation scheme as evolved in the 2 projects has contributed to increasing contraceptive acceptance and continuation and to a shift from the less reliable to the more reliable contraceptive methods. The projects have also assisted women and their families to expand their income generating activities, raise their incomes, and improve the family's standard of living. The Mission recommends that: 1) more diversified income producing activities be encouraged; 2) product outlets be identified and mapped and appropriate marketing strategies devised; 2) loan repayment schedules be carefully examined; 4) data collection, monitoring and evaluation be streamlined and strenghthened; and 5) the process of the entire rural cooperatives/income generation scheme be more comprehensively documented. In the 3 other projects, which are addressed to both men and women, the needs and concerns of women have not been adequately taken into account and/or the participation of women in all phases of the projects and their access to project benefits have not been equal to men. The Mission therefore recommends that special consideration be given to women's concerns in the design and formulation of all projects. The Mission ascertained that non-women specific projects tend to perpetuate existing discriminatory or unequal access to, and control of, resources by women unless specific consideration is accorded to them.
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  7. 7

    The potential of national household survey programmes for monitoring and evaluating primary health care in developing countries. L'apport potentiel des enquetes nationales sur les menages a la surveillance et a l'evaluation des soins de sante primaires dans les pays en developpement.

    Carlson BA

    World Health Statistics Quarterly. Rapport Trimestriel de Statistiques Sanitaires Mondiales. 1985; 38(1):38-64.

    National programs of household sample surveys, such as those being encouraged through the National Household Survey Capability Program (NHSCP), are a principal source of information on primary health care in developing countries. Being representative of the total population, the major population subgroups and geographic subdivisions, they permit calculation of health status and utilization of health services. Household surveys have an important role to play in monitoring and evaluating primary health care since they sample directly the intended beneficiaries, and so can be used to judge the extent to which programs are meeting expected goals. Caution is necessary, however, since methodological problems have been experienced for many evaluation surveys. National surveys are especially appropriate for measuring many indicators of progress towards national goals within a broad socioeconomic perspective. Future directions in making the optimum use of household surveys for health program purposes are indicated. The NHSCP is a major undertaking of the UN system including WHO to collaborate with developing countries to establish a continuing flow of integrated statistics on a recurrent basis to support the national development process and information priorities. It brings together the principal users and producers of data to plan and conduct surveys which respond to national needs and priorities. The NHSCP encourages countries to employ a permanent national field organization for data collection. Areas of discussion are: the potential for monitoring and evaluation, the household survey as a source of health indicators, the demand for household surveys of health, followed by a summary of the health and health-related topics covered by 6 national health and nutrition surveys conducted in several developing countries. The special themes of infant and child mortality, morbidity and nutritional surveillance are also considered. The experience of many developed countries has been very positive with the use of nonmedically organized health surveys. Although the sample survey can be used in many settings to obtain population-based data, it must be carefully designed and implemented according to scientific procedures in order for the results to be validly extrapolated to the population or subgroups of primary concern.
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