Health sector reform in sub-Saharan Africa: a synthesis of country experiences.
Health sector reform is 'a sustained process of fundamental changes in national health policy, institutional arrangements, etc. guided by government and designed to improve the functioning and performance of the health sector and, ultimately, the health status of the population'. All the forty six countries in the African Region of the World Health Organisation have embarked on one form of health sector reform or the other. The contexts and contents of their health reform programmes have varied from one country to another. Health reforms in the region have been influenced largely by the poor performance of the health systems, particularly with regard to the quality of health services. Most countries have taken due congnizance of the deficiencies on their health systems in the design of their health reform programmes and they have made some progress in the implementation of such programmes. Indeed, some countries have adopted sector-wide approaches (SWAps) in developing and implementing their health reform programmes. Since countries are at various stages of implementing their health reform programmes, there is a lot of potential for countries to learn from one another. This paper is a synthesis of the experiences of the countries of the Region in the development and implementation of their health sector reform programmes, it also highlights the future perspectives in this important area. (author's)