The health sector in the Punjab (Pakistan) faces many problems, and, the government introduced reforms during 1993-2000. This paper explores the policy process for the reforms. A case study method was used and, to assist this, a conceptual framework was developed. Analysis of four initiatives indicated that there were deviations from the government guidelines and that the policy processes used were weak. The progress of different reforms was affected by a variety of factors: the immaturity of the political process and civil society, which together with innate conservatism and resistance to change on the part of the bureaucracy resulted in weak strategic sectoral leadership and a lack of clear purpose underpinning the reforms. It also resulted in weaknesses in preparation of the detail of reforms leading to poor implementation. The study suggests a need for broadening the stakeholders' base, building the capacity of policy-makers in policy analysis and strengthening the institutional basis of policymaking bodies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is growing renewed trust in primary health care as the best approach for ensuring equity in the delivery of essential health services. However, Pakistan with one of the most widely spread district health system networks in the region, has not delivered at the expected capacity. A series of health system reform agendas are now stipulated which include the promulgation of an essential health service package, public private partnerships and a people-centred focus. Nevertheless, success of these reforms will hinge on the ability of the three tiers of the government and other stakeholders to work together to improve the overall performance of the district health system. This paper provides an overview of the district health system infrastructure and organization of primary health care services in Pakistan, the evolving governance pattern and the operational significance and merit of health system pillars for effective service implementation.
Eastern Mediterranean health journal = La revue de santé de la Méditerranée orientale = al-Majallah al-ṣiḥḥīyah li-sharq al-mutawassiṭ 08/2010; 16 Suppl:S132-44.
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