[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low-income countries are plagued by a high burden of preventable and curable disease as well as unmet need for healthcare, but detailed microeconomic evidence on the relationship between supply-side factors and service use is limited. Causality has rarely been assessed due to the challenges posed by the endogeneity of health service supply.In this study, using data from Mozambique, we investigate the effect of healthcare service availability, measured as the type of health facilities and their level of staffing and equipment, on the individual decision to seek care. We apply an instrumental variable approach to test for causality in the effect of staff and equipment availability on the decision to seek care and we explore heterogeneous effects based on the distance of households to the closest health facility.We find that living in the proximity of a health facility increases the probability of seeking care. A greater availability of referral health services in the locality has no significant effect on decision to seek care, while greater availability of staff and equipment increases the probability of seeking care when ill. Demand side barriers to health care use exist, but have a smaller impact when health care services are available within one hour walking distance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many low-income countries, the private commercial sector plays an important role in the provision of malaria treatment. However, the quality of care it provides is often poor, with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) generally being too costly for consumers. Decreasing ACT prices is critical for improving private sector treatment outcomes and reducing the spread of artemisinin resistance. Yet limited evidence exists on the factors influencing retailers' pricing decisions. This study investigates the determinants of price mark-ups on anti-malarial drugs in retail outlets in Cambodia.
Taking an economics perspective, the study tests the hypothesis that the structure of the anti-malarial market determines the way providers set their prices. Providers facing weak competition are hypothesized to apply high mark-ups and set prices above the competitive level. To analyse the relationship between market competition and provider pricing, the study used cross-sectional data from retail outlets selling anti-malarial drugs, including outlet characteristics data (e.g. outlet type, anti-malarial sales volumes), range of anti-malarial drugs stocked (e.g. dosage form, brand status) and purchase and selling prices. Market concentration, a measure of the level of market competition, was estimated using sales volume data. Market accessibility was defined based on travel time to the closest main commercial area. Percent mark-ups were calculated using price data. The relationship between mark-ups and market concentration was explored using regression analysis.
The anti-malarial market was on average highly concentrated, suggesting weak competition. Higher concentration was positively associated with higher mark-ups in moderately accessible markets only, with no significant relationship or a negative relationship in other markets. Other determinants of pricing included anti-malarial brand status and generic type, with higher mark-ups on cheaper products.
The results indicate that provider pricing as well as other key elements of anti-malarial supply and demand may have played an important role in the limited access to appropriate malaria treatment in Cambodia. The potential for an ACT price subsidy at manufacturer level combined with effective communications directed at consumers and supportive private sector regulation should be explored to improve access to quality malaria treatment in Cambodia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In contexts where health services are mostly publicly provided and access is still limited, health financing systems require some mechanism for distributing financial resources across geographic areas according to population need. Equity in public health expenditure has been evaluated either by comparing allocations across spending units to equitable shares established using resource allocation formulae, or by using benefit incidence analysis to look at the distribution of expenditure across individual service users. In the latter case, the distribution across individuals has typically not been linked to the mechanisms that determine the allocation across geographic areas, and to the utilization of specific services by individuals.
Social Science & Medicine 04/2015; 130. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.02.012 · 2.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is recommended in HIV-negative women to avert malaria, while this relies on cotrimoxazole prophylaxis (CTXp) in HIV-positive women. Alternative antimalarials are required in areas where parasite resistance to antifolate drugs is high. The cost-effectiveness of IPTp with alternative drugs is needed to inform policy. Methods The cost-effectiveness of 2-dose IPTp-mefloquine (MQ) was compared with IPTp-SP in HIV-negative women (Benin, Gabon, Mozambique and Tanzania). In HIV-positive women the cost-effectiveness of 3-dose IPTp-MQ added to CTXp was compared with CTXp alone (Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania). The outcomes used were maternal clinical malaria, anaemia at delivery and non-obstetric hospital admissions. The poor tolerability to MQ was included as the value of women's loss of working days. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated and threshold analysis undertaken. Results For HIV-negative women, the ICER for IPTp-MQ versus IPTp-SP was 136.30 US$ (2012 US$) (95%,CI 131.41; 141.18) per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted, or 237.78 US$ (95%CI 230.99; 244.57), depending on whether estimates from Gabon were included or not. For HIV-positive women, the ICER per DALY averted for IPTp-MQ added to CTXp, versus CTXp alone was 6.96 US$ (95%CI 4.22; 9.70). In HIV-negative women, moderate shifts of variables such as malaria incidence, drug cost, and IPTp efficacy increased the ICERs above the cost-effectiveness threshold. In HIV-positive women the intervention remained cost-effective for a substantial (up to 21 times) increase in cost per tablet. Conclusions Addition of IPTp with an effective antimalarial to CTXp was very cost-effective in HIV-positive women. IPTp with an efficacious antimalarial was more cost-effective than IPTp-SP in HIV-negative women. However, the poor tolerability of MQ does not favour its use as IPTp. Regardless of HIV status, prevention of malaria in pregnancy with a highly efficacious, well tolerated antimalarial would be cost-effective despite its high price.
PLoS ONE 04/2015; 10(4):e0125072. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0125072 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe the state of the public and private malaria diagnostics market shortly after WHO updated its guidelines for testing all suspected malaria cases prior to treatment.
10 nationally representative cross-sectional cluster surveys were conducted in 2011 among public and private health facilities, community health workers, and retail outlets (pharmacies and drug shops) in 9 countries (Tanzania-mainland and Zanzibar surveyed separately). Eligible outlets had antimalarials in stock on the day of interview or had stocked antimalarials in the past three months.
3,439 RDT products from 39 manufacturers were audited among 12,197 outlets interviewed. Availability was typically highest in public health facilities, though availability in these facilities varied greatly across countries, from 15% in Nigeria to >90% in Madagascar and Cambodia. Private for-profit sector availability was 46% in Cambodia, 20% in Zambia, but low in other countries. Median retail prices for RDTs in the private for-profit sector ranged from $0.00 in Madagascar to $3.13 in Zambia. The reported number of RDTs used in the 7 days before the survey in public health facilities ranged from 3 (Benin) to 50 (Zambia).
18 months after WHO updated its case management guidelines, RDT availability remained poor in the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Given the ongoing importance of the private sector as a source of fever treatment, the goal of universal diagnosis will not be achievable under current circumstances. These results constitute national baselines against which progress in scaling-up diagnostic tests can be assessed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Tropical Medicine & International Health 02/2015; 20(6). DOI:10.1111/tmi.12491 · 2.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article examines why and how a national health insurance (NHI) proposal targeting universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria developed over time. The study involved document reviews, in-depth interviews, a further review of preliminary analysis by relevant actors and use of a stakeholder analysis approach. The need for strategies to improve healthcare funding during the economic recession of the 1980s stimulated the proposal. The inclusion of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) as financing organizations for national health insurance at the expense of sub-national (state) government mechanisms increased credibility of policy implementation but resulted in loss of support from states. The most successful period of the policy process occurred when a new minister of health (strongly supported by the president that displayed interest in UHC) provided leadership through the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), and effectively managed stakeholders’ interests and galvanized their support to advance the
Health Policy and Planning 10/2014; DOI:10.1093/heapol/czu116 · 3.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) has been the first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Cameroon since 2004 and Nigeria since 2005, though many febrile patients receive less effective antimalarials. Patients often rely on providers to select treatment, and interventions are needed to improve providers' practice and encourage them to adhere to clinical guidelines.
Providers' adherence to malaria treatment guidelines was examined using data collected in Cameroon and Nigeria at public and mission facilities, pharmacies and drug stores. Providers' choice of antimalarial was investigated separately for each country. Multilevel logistic regression was used to determine whether providers were more likely to choose ACT if they knew it was the first-line antimalarial. Multiple imputation was used to impute missing data that arose when linking exit survey responses to details of the provider responsible for selecting treatment.
There was a gap between providers' knowledge and their practice in both countries, as providers' decision to supply ACT was not significantly associated with knowledge of the first-line antimalarial. Providers were, however, more likely to supply ACT if it was the type of antimalarial they prefer. Other factors were country-specific, and indicated providers can be influenced by what they perceived their patients prefer or could afford, as well as information about their symptoms, previous treatment, the type of outlet and availability of ACT.
Public health interventions to improve the treatment of uncomplicated malaria should strive to change what providers prefer, rather than focus on what they know. Interventions to improve adherence to malaria treatment guidelines should emphasize that ACT is the recommended antimalarial, and it should be used for all patients with uncomplicated malaria. Interventions should also be tailored to the local setting, as there were differences between the two countries in providers' choice of antimalarial, and who or what influenced their practice.
Health Policy and Planning 10/2014; DOI:10.1093/heapol/czu118 · 3.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
There have been longstanding concerns over Malawian doctors migrating to high-income countries. Early career is a particularly vulnerable period. After significant policy changes, we examined the retention of recent medical graduates within Malawi and the public sector.Methods
We obtained data on graduates between 2006 and 2012 from the University of Malawi College of Medicine and Malawi Ministry of Health. We utilised the alumni network to triangulate official data and contacted graduates directly for missing or uncertain data. Odds ratios and chi-squared tests were employed to investigate relationships by graduation year and gender.ResultsWe traced 256 graduates, with complete information for more than 90%. Nearly 80% of registered doctors were in Malawi (141/178, 79.2%), although the odds of emigration doubled with each year after graduation (odds ratio = 1.98, 95% CI = 1.54–2.56, P < 0.0001). Of the 37 graduates outside Malawi (14.5%), 23 (62.2%) were training in South Africa under a College of Medicine sandwich programme. More than 80% of graduates were working in the public sector (185/218, 82.6%), with the odds declining by 27% for each year after graduation (odds ratio = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.61–0.86, P < 0.0001).Conclusions
While most doctors remain in Malawi and the public sector during their early careers, the odds of leaving both increase with time. The majority of graduates outside Malawi are training in South Africa under visa restrictions, reflecting the positive impact of postgraduate training in Malawi. Concerns over attrition from the public sector are valid and required further exploratory work.
Tropical Medicine & International Health 10/2014; 20(1). DOI:10.1111/tmi.12408 · 2.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study explores whether dramatic improvements over the past 15 years in the tax collection capacity of Kenya, Lagos State (Nigeria) and South Africa created more fiscal space for the public health sector.
Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa; 10/2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Improving access to quality-assured artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) is an important component of malaria control in low- and middle-income countries. In 2010 the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria launched the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) program in seven African countries. The goal of the program was to decrease malaria morbidity and delay drug resistance by increasing the use of ACTs, primarily through subsidies intended to reduce costs. We collected data on price and retail markups on antimalarial medicines from 19,625 private for-profit retail outlets before and 6-15 months after the program's implementation. We found that in six of the AMFm pilot programs, prices for quality-assured ACTs decreased by US$1.28-$4.34, and absolute retail markups on these therapies decreased by US$0.31-$1.03. Prices and markups on other classes of antimalarials also changed during the evaluation period, but not to the same extent. In all but two of the pilot programs, we found evidence that prices could fall further without suppliers' losing money. Thus, concerns may be warranted that wholesalers and retailers are capturing subsidies instead of passing them on to consumers. These findings demonstrate that supranational subsidies can dramatically reduce retail prices of health commodities and that recommended retail prices communicated to a wide audience may be an effective mechanism for controlling the market power of private-sector antimalarial retailers and wholesalers.
Health Affairs 09/2014; 33(9):1576-85. DOI:10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0104 · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Discrete choice experiments have become a popular study design to study the labour market preferences of health workers. Discrete choice experiments in health, however, have been criticised for lagging behind best practice and there are specific methodological considerations for those focused on job choices. We performed a systematic review of the application of discrete choice experiments to inform health workforce policy.
We searched for discrete choice experiments that examined the labour market preferences of health workers, including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, mid-level and community health workers. We searched Medline, Embase, Global Health, other databases and grey literature repositories with no limits on date or language and contacted 44 experts. Features of choice task and experimental design, conduct and analysis of included studies were assessed against best practice. An assessment of validity was undertaken for all studies, with a comparison of results from those with low risk of bias and a similar objective and context.
Twenty-seven studies were included, with over half set in low- and middle-income countries. There were more studies published in the last four years than the previous ten years. Doctors or medical students were the most studied cadre. Studies frequently pooled results from heterogeneous subgroups or extrapolated these results to the general population. Only one third of studies included an opt-out option, despite all health workers having the option to exit the labour market. Just five studies combined results with cost data to assess the cost effectiveness of various policy options. Comparison of results from similar studies broadly showed the importance of bonus payments and postgraduate training opportunities and the unpopularity of time commitments for the uptake of rural posts.
This is the first systematic review of discrete choice experiments in human resources for health. We identified specific issues relating to this application of which practitioners should be aware to ensure robust results. In particular, there is a need for more defined target populations and increased synthesis with cost data. Research on a wider range of health workers and the generalisability of results would be welcome to better inform policy.
BMC Health Services Research 09/2014; 14(1):367. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-14-367 · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review aims to identify, assess and analyse the evidence on equity in the distribution of public health sector expenditure in low- and middle-income countries. Four bibliographic databases and five websites were searched to identify quantitative studies examining equity in the distribution of public health funding in individual countries or groups of countries. Two different types of studies were identified: benefit incidence analysis (BIA) and resource allocation comparison (RAC) studies. Quality appraisal and data synthesis were tailored to each study type to reflect differences in the methods used and in the information provided. We identified 39 studies focusing on African, Asian and Latin American countries. Of these, 31 were BIA studies that described the distribution, typically across socio-economic status, of individual monetary benefit derived from service utilization. The remaining eight were RAC studies that compared the actual expenditure across geographic areas to an ideal need-based distribution. Overall, the quality of the evidence from both types of study was relatively weak. Looking across studies, the evidence confirms that resource allocation formulae can enhance equity in resource allocation across geographic areas and that the poor benefits proportionally more from primary health care than from hospital expenditure. The lack of information on the distribution of benefit from utilization in RAC studies and on the countries' approaches to resource allocation in BIA studies prevents further policy analysis. Additional research that relates the type of resource allocation mechanism to service provision and to the benefit distribution is required for a better understanding of equity-enhancing resource allocation policies.
Health Policy and Planning 05/2014; 30(4). DOI:10.1093/heapol/czu034 · 3.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria (AMFm) is primarily an artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) subsidy, aimed at increasing availability, affordability, market share and use of quality-assured ACTs (QAACTs). Mainland Tanzania was one of eight national scale programmes where AMFm was introduced in 2010. Here we present findings from outlet and household surveys before and after AMFm implementation to evaluate its impact from both the supply and demand side.
Outlet surveys were conducted in 49 randomly selected wards throughout mainland Tanzania in 2010 and 2011, and data on outlet characteristics and stocking patterns were collected from outlets stocking antimalarials. Household surveys were conducted in 240 randomly selected enumeration areas in three regions in 2010 and 2012. Questions about treatment seeking for fever and drugs obtained were asked of individuals reporting fever in the previous two weeks.
The availability of QAACTs increased from 25.5% to 69.5% among all outlet types, with the greatest increase among pharmacies and drug stores, together termed specialised drug sellers (SDSs), where the median QAACT price fell from $5.63 to $0.94. The market share of QAACTs increased from 26.2% to 42.2%, again with the greatest increase in SDSs. Household survey results showed a shift in treatment seeking away from the public sector towards SDSs. Overall, there was no change in the proportion of people with fever obtaining an antimalarial or ACT from baseline to endline. However, when broken down by treatment source, ACT use increased significantly among clients visiting SDSs.
Unchanged ACT use overall, despite increases in QAACT availability, affordability and market share in the private sector, reflected a shift in treatment seeking towards private providers. The reasons for this shift are unclear, but likely reflect both persistent stockouts in public facilities, and the increased availability of subsidised ACTs in the private sector.
PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e95607. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0095607 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Private for-profit outlets are important treatment sources for malaria in most endemic countries. However, these outlets constitute only the last link in a chain of businesses that includes manufacturers, importers and wholesalers, all of which influence the availability, price and quality of antimalarials patients can access. We present evidence on the composition, characteristics and operation of these distribution chains and of the businesses that comprise them in six endemic countries (Benin, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia).
We conducted nationally representative surveys of antimalarial wholesalers during 2009-2010 using an innovative sampling approach that captured registered and unregistered distribution channels, complemented by in-depth interviews with a range of stakeholders. Antimalarial distribution chains were pyramidal in shape, with antimalarials passing through a maximum of 4-6 steps between manufacturer and retailer; however, most likely pass through 2-3 steps. Less efficacious non-artemisinin therapies (e.g. chloroquine) dominated weekly sales volumes among African wholesalers, while volumes for more efficacious artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) were many times smaller. ACT sales predominated only in Cambodia. In all countries, consumer demand was the principal consideration when selecting products to stock. Selling prices and reputation were key considerations regarding supplier choice. Business practices varied across countries, with large differences in the proportions of wholesalers offering credit and delivery services to customers, and the types of distribution models adopted by businesses. Regulatory compliance also varied across countries, particularly with respect to licensing. The proportion of wholesalers possessing any up-to-date licence from national regulators was lowest in Benin and Nigeria, where vendors in traditional markets are important antimalarial supply sources.
The structure and characteristics of antimalarial distribution chains vary across countries; therefore, understanding the wholesalers that comprise them should inform efforts aiming to improve access to quality treatment through the private sector.
PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e93763. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093763 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As agents for their patients, providers often make treatment decisions on behalf of patients, and their choices can affect health outcomes. However, providers operate within a network of relationships and are agents not only for their patients, but also other health sector actors, such as their employer, the Ministry of Health, and pharmaceutical suppliers. Providers' stated preferences for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria were examined to determine what factors predict their choice of treatment in the absence of information and institutional constraints, such as the stock of medicines or the patient's ability to pay.
Social Science [?] Medicine 03/2014; 104. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.12.024 · 2.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria (AMFm), implemented at national scale in eight African countries or territories, subsidized quality-assured artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) and included communication campaigns to support implementation and promote appropriate anti-malarial use. This paper reports private for-profit provider awareness of key features of the AMFm programme, and changes in provider knowledge of appropriate malaria treatment.
This study had a non-experimental design based on nationally representative surveys of outlets stocking anti-malarials before (2009/10) and after (2011) the AMFm roll-out.
Based on data from over 19,500 outlets, results show that in four of eight settings, where communication campaigns were implemented for 5-9 months, 76%-94% awareness of the AMFm 'green leaf' logo, 57%-74% awareness of the ACT subsidy programme, and 52%-80% awareness of the correct recommended retail price (RRP) of subsidized ACT were recorded. However, in the remaining four settings where communication campaigns were implemented for three months or less, levels were substantially lower. In six of eight settings, increases of at least 10 percentage points in private for-profit providers' knowledge of the correct first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria were seen; and in three of these the levels of knowledge achieved at endline were over 80%.
The results support the interpretation that, in addition to the availability of subsidized ACT, the intensity of communication campaigns may have contributed to the reported levels of AMFm-related awareness and knowledge among private for-profit providers. Future subsidy programmes for anti-malarials or other treatments should similarly include communication activities.