The main challenges in international health are to scale up effective health interventions in low- and middle-income countries
in order to reach a higher proportion of the population. This can be achieved through better insight into how health systems
are structured. Social network analysis can provide an appropriate and innovative paradigm for the health systems researcher,
allow new analyses of the structure of health systems, and facilitate understanding of the role of stakeholders within a health
system. The social network analysis methodology adapted to health systems research and described in detail by the authors
comprises three main stages: (i) describing the set of actors and members of the network; (ii) characterizing the relationships
between actors; and (iii) analysing the structure of the systems. Evidence generated through social network analysis could
help policy makers to understand how health systems react over time and to better adjust health programmes and innovations
to the capacities of health systems in low- and middle-income countries to achieve universal coverage.
Methods Number of measles cases and routine measles vaccination coverage reported by each district were obtained from the National Health Management Information System reports of 1997 to 2007. The immunization coverage by district in a given year was calculated by dividing the number of children immunized by the projected population in the same age category. Annual measles incidence for each year was derived by dividing the number of cases in a year by the mid-year projected population. Commercial measles IgM enzyme-linked immunoassay kits were used to confirm measles cases. Results Routine measles immunization coverage increased from 64% in 1997 to 90% in 2004, then stabilized around 87%. The 2003 national measles catch-up and 2006 follow-up campaigns reached 100% of children targeted with a measles supplemental dose. Over 80% coverage was also achieved with other child survival interventions. Case-based measles surveillance was rolled out nationwide to provide continuous epidemiological monitoring of measles occurrence. Following a 93% decline in measles incidence and no measles deaths, epidemic resurgence of measles occurred 3 years after a measles campaign targeting a wide age group, but no indigenous measles virus (D(10)) was isolated. Recurrence was delayed in regions where children were offered an early second opportunity for measles vaccination. Conclusion The integrated routine and campaign approach to providing a second opportunity for measles vaccination is effective in interrupting indigenous measles transmission and can be used to deliver other child survival interventions. Measles control can be sustained and the inter-epidemic interval lengthened by offering an early second opportunity for measles vaccination through other health delivery strategies.
Immunization in India is marked with stark disparities across gender, caste, wealth and place of residence with severe shortfalls
among those disadvantaged in more than one dimension. In this regard, an explicit recognition of intersectionality and intersectional
inequalities has 2-fold relevance; one, being the pathway of health inequality and the other being its role as a deterrent
of progress particularly at higher (better) levels of health. Against this backdrop, this study examines intersectional inequalities
in immunization in India and also suggests a level-sensitive progress assessment method. The study uses group analogue of
Gini coefficient for highlighting the magnitude of intersectional inequality and for comprehending its association with immunization
level. The results unravel the plight of vulnerable intersectional groups and draw attention to disquieting shortfalls among
female SCST (scheduled castes and tribes) children from rural areas. There is also some evidence to indicate leveraging among
rural males in matters of immunization and it is further discerned that such gender advantage is greater among rural non-SCST
community than the rural SCST group. In concluding, the study calls for intensive immunization planning to improve coverage
among vulnerable communities in both rural and urban areas.
To determine (a) whether the influence of the determinants of family planning use in Pakistan changed between 1990-91 and 2006-07, and (b) if these changes were associated with changes in the method mix.
Data from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Surveys (PDHS) of 1990-91 and 2006-07 were used in the analyses. Data on 5184 married, non-pregnant, fecund women in 1990-91 and 8041 married, non-pregnant, fecund women in 2006-07 were used. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with the use of any contraceptive method and whether the influence of these factors changed between the survey years. Changes in the method mix were examined.
The effects of urban/rural residence, wealth and education on contraceptive use changed between 1990-91 and 2006-07. Differentials in contraceptive use by residence, wealth and education declined and were accompanied by changes in the method mix. In rural areas and among less-educated women, the contribution of traditional methods to the method mix increased. Among the poorest women, the method mix shifted towards traditional methods and condoms.
Less-educated, rural, Pakistani women increased the use of family planning at a faster rate than more-educated, urban, women by adopting the use of traditional family planning methods. Poor women also increased family planning use more quickly than non-poor women, by adopting condoms and traditional methods. The more rapid increase in the demand for family planning among poorer, less-educated, rural women is a positive trend. In order to convert this demand into the use of longer-term modern methods, however, access to high quality services must be improved in rural and low-income urban areas.
Socio-economic disparities in health have been well documented around the world. This study examines whether NGO facilitation of the government's community-based health programme improved the equity of maternal and newborn health in rural Uttar Pradesh, India. A quasi-experimental study design included one intervention district and one comparison district of rural Uttar Pradesh. A household survey conducted between January and June 2003 established baseline rates of programme coverage, maternal and newborn care practices, and health care utilization during 2001-02. An endline household survey was conducted after 30 months of programme implementation between January and March 2006 to measure the same indicators during 2004-05. The changes in the indicators from baseline to endline in the intervention and comparison districts were calculated by socio-economic quintiles, and concentration indices were constructed to measure the equity of programme indicators. The equity of programme coverage and antenatal and newborn care practices improved from baseline to endline in the intervention district while showing little change in the comparison district. Equity in health care utilization for mothers and newborns also showed some improvements in the intervention district, but notable socio-economic differentials remained, with the poor demonstrating less ability to access health services. NGO facilitation of government programmes is a feasible strategy to improve equity of maternal and neonatal health programmes. Improvements in equity were most pronounced for household practices, and inequities were still apparent in health care utilization. Furthermore, overall programme coverage remained low, limiting the ability to address equity. Programmes need to identify and address barriers to universal coverage and care utilization, particularly in the poorest segments of the population.
BACKGROUND; Measuring country performance in health has focused on assessing predicted vs observed levels of outcomes, an indicator that varies slowly over time. An alternative is to measure performance in terms of the rate of change in how a selected outcome compares to what would be expected given contextual determinants. Rates of change in health indicators can prove more sensitive than levels to changes in social, intersectoral or health policy context. It is thus similar to the growth rate of gross domestic product in the economic context. We assess performance in the rate of change (decline) of under-five mortality for 113 low- and middle-income countries.
For 1970-2010, we study the evolution in rates of decline of under-five mortality. For each decade, we define performance as the average of the difference between the observed rate of decline and a rate of decline predicted by a model controlling for the contextual factors of income, female education levels, decade and geographical location.
In the 1970s, the top performer in the rate of decline of under-five mortality was Costa Rica. In the 2000s, the top performer was Turkey. Overall, performance in rates of decline correlated little with performance in levels of under-five mortality. A major transition in performance between decades suggests a change in underlying determinants and we report the magnitude of these transitions. For example, heavily AIDS impacted countries, such as Botswana, experienced major drops in performance between the 1980s and the 1990s and some, including Botswana, experienced major compensatory improvements between the 1990s and the 2000s.
Rate-based measures of country performance in health provide a starting point for assessments of the importance of health system, social and intersectoral determinants of performance.
Studies have often ignored examining the role of community- and district-level factors in the utilization of maternity healthcare services, particularly in Indian contexts. The Social Determinants of Health framework emphasizes the role of governance and government policies, the measures for which are rarely incorporated in single-level individual analysis. This study examines factors associated with maternal healthcare utilization in nine high focus states in India, which shares more than half of the total maternal deaths in the country; accounting for individual-, household-, community- and district-level characteristics.
The required data are extracted from the third round of the nationally representative District Level Household and Facility Survey conducted during 2007-08. Multilevel analyses were applied to three maternity outcomes, namely, four or more antenatal care visits, skilled birth attendance and post-natal care after birth.
Results show that along with individual-/household-level factors, community and district-level factors influence the pattern of utilization of maternal healthcare services significantly. At the community level, the odds of maternal healthcare utilization were lower in rural areas and in communities with a high concentration of poor and illiterate women. Moreover, the average population coverage of primary health centres (PHCs), availability of labour room in PHC and percentage of registered pregnancies were significant factors at the district level that influenced the use of maternity care services. The study also found a strong association between the extent of previous use of maternal healthcare and its effect on subsequent usage patterns.
This study highlights the role of strengthening public health infrastructure at district level in the study area, and promoting awareness about available healthcare services and subsidized schemes in the community. To reach out to rural and underprivileged communities and to apply a participatory approach from the programme officials are issues to delve into.
It is generally assumed that socioeconomic development interventions for the poor will enhance their material and social capacities to prevent ill health and to seek appropriate and timely care. Using cross-sectional data from surveys undertaken in 1995 and 1999 as part of the BRAC-ICDDR,B Joint Research Project in Matlab, Bangladesh, this paper explores patterns of health-seeking behaviour over time, with the hypothesis that exposure to integrated socioeconomic development activities will enhance gender equity in care-seeking and the use of qualified medical care. While there is tentative evidence of greater gender equity in treatment choice among households benefiting from development interventions, a preference for qualified medical care is not apparent. Findings reveal a striking and generalized rise in self-treatment over the 4-year period that is attributed to the economic repercussions of a major flood in 1998, and greater heath awareness due to the density of community health workers in Matlab. Also noteworthy is the substantial reliance on informal and often unqualified practitioners (over 20%) such as pharmacists and itinerant drug sellers. Factors associated with the type of health care sought were identified using logistic regression. Self-care is associated with female gender, the absence of low cost health services and illnesses of relatively short duration. Medical care, on the other hand, is positively predicted by male gender, geographic location, greater socioeconomic status and serious illness of long duration. The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of enhancing local capacities to determine whether self-treatment is indicated, to self-treat appropriately, or in cases where health care is sought, to judge provider competence and evaluate whether treatment costs are justified. The provision of pharmaceutical training to the full spectrum of health care providers is also recommended.
Most government health facilities in Cambodia perform poorly, due to lack of funds, inadequate management and inefficient use of resources, but mostly due to poor motivation of staff. This paper describes contracting as a possible tool for Ministries of Health to improve health service delivery more rapidly than the more traditional reform approaches. In Cambodia, the Ministry of Health started an experiment with contracting in eight districts, covering 1 million people. Health care management in five districts was sub-contracted to private sector operators, and their results were compared with three control districts. Both internal and external reviews showed that after 3 years of implementation, the utilization of health services in the contracted districts improved significantly, in comparison with the control districts. There was adequate competition in awarding the contracts. A Ministry of Health Project Co-ordinating Unit measured the performance of the contractors, and contributed pro-actively. There was no evidence of rent-seeking practices by either the contracting agency or the contractors. This paper describes in more detail the successes and failures in one of the contracted districts, where HealthNet International applied the contracting approach. Despite significantly increased official user fees, constituting 16% of recurrent costs, the utilization of services was equally increased. Patients thought the fees were reasonable because they were still lower than the fees demanded if government health workers charged informally. They also thought that the services were of better quality than in the unregulated private sector. Another important result was that combining strict monitoring with performance-based incentives demonstrates a decrease in total family health expenditure of some 40% from US dollars 18 to US dollars 11 per capita per year. Innovative and decisive management proved to be essential, which is more likely to be achieved by a contracted manager than by regular government managers with life-long employment. This paper discusses how the contractor addressed the deeply rooted problems of informal private activities of government health workers. The NGO district management experimented with two management systems: first by individual contracts with health workers, and secondly by sub-contracting directly with the health centre chiefs and hospital directors. A reason for concern is that poli-pharmacy and excessive use of injectables continued. Also, the participation of the central level of the Ministry of Health was positive in the contracting process, but the role and participation of the provincial level of the Ministry was more tentative.
Discharge information was obtained from pediatric ward logbooks of the Centre Hospitalier Régional de Bouaké from 1982 to 1992. While number of children admitted per month and discharge diagnosis remained relatively stable throughout the period, the proportion of children who left the hospital against medical advice increased by nearly 5 times during the 11-year period to over 12% of all pediatric admissions. The proportion of discharges against medical advice decreased to 10% of all pediatric admissions after institution of a programme to provide essential drugs at cost to patients (previously only available from private pharmacies). Most children who were taken from the hospital left within the first two days of hospitalization. The admission diagnoses of these children suggest that most had serious, life-threatening illness and that they left the hospital prior to having received adequate treatment. The increase in pediatric ward discharge against medical advice occurred simultaneously with serious budgetary shortfalls in the hospital resulting in inadequacy of medicines and basic equipment. Hospital staff suspected that most of the discharges against medical advice were caused by families being unable to afford the purchase of medicines and supplies necessary for inpatient treatment. It is suggested that widespread policies of decreasing funding for basic curative services in public hospitals may be associated with a substantial increase in preventable child mortality.
Evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of health services is important for all countries, especially those with limited resources. This study aimed to evaluate the volume and quality of health services research (HSR) conducted in one developing region, the English-speaking Caribbean. Data were abstracted from all 770 abstracts describing presentations at the annual scientific meetings of the Commonwealth Caribbean Medical Research Council for the decade 1984 to 1993. Of these, 341 abstracts were judged to report health services research and were from the English-speaking Caribbean. Hospital services were evaluated in 240 (70%) reports while primary health services were evaluated in only 90 (26%). Most hospital-based studies evaluated the use and outcome of medical and surgical services through the collection of case series and cohorts of cases, with a median sample size of 104 (interquartile range 38 to 320). Evaluations at primary level were more likely to evaluate need or demand for services, were more likely to report cross sectional surveys or randomized trials and included larger numbers of subjects (median 343, interquartile range 121 to 661). Patient-based measures of health status and measures of resource use were not often reported at either primary or secondary level. Estimation and hypothesis testing were infrequently employed in data analysis. A large proportion of the research presented could be classified as HSR but measures are needed to increase the motivation for research into primary care and to improve skills in HSR study design, conduct and analysis among those presently conducting research.
The post-1979 period in China has seen the implementation of reforms that dismantled much of the Maoist era social welfare system and permitted a significant reallocation of society's resources. The result has been rapid but uneven economic development that has profoundly altered the environment within which consumers make health investment decisions. Many studies report significant and apparently non-random reductions in health care utilization during this period. Scholars have tended to focus on the loss of insurance coverage and the growth of fees for services in explaining such reductions. An alternative explanation is growing inequality in access to care. This possibility has not received much research attention. As a result, our understanding of the patterns of changes in health care access, and of the types of populations that have been most adversely affected, has been rather limited. This research examines the distribution of the changes in several indicators of access to health care across communities during the period 1989 to 1997. We find evidence of relatively uneven changes to these indicators. Money charges for routine services increased consistently, though this trend was less pronounced in lower-income communities. Most communities experienced reductions in travel distance to clinics but increases in distance to hospitals. There were major improvements to the quality of care in wealthier rural areas, but not in poorer villages. Wealthier villages experienced less improvement in waiting time and drug availability. These trends appear to be closely associated with changing economic circumstances during the reform era.
Background Trade liberalization is promoted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) through a complex architecture of binding trade agreements. This type of trade, however, has the potential to modify the upstream and proximate determinants of tuberculosis (TB) infection. We aimed to analyse the association between trade liberalization and TB incidence in 22 high-burden TB countries between 1990 and 2010.
Methods and findings A longitudinal multi-level linear regression analysis was performed using five different measures of trade liberalization as exposure [WTO membership, duration of membership, trade as % of gross domestic product, and components of both the Economic Freedom of the World Index (EFI4) and the KOF Index of Globalization (KOF1)]. We adjusted for a wide range of factors, including differences in human development index (HDI), income inequality, debts, polity patterns, conflict, overcrowding, population stage transition, health system financing, case detection rates and HIV prevalence.
None of the five trade indicators was significantly associated with TB incidence in the crude analysis. Any positive effect of EFI4 on (Log-) TB incidence over time was confounded by differences in socio-economic development (HDI), HIV prevalence and health financing indicators. The adjusted TB incidence rate ratio of WTO member countries was significantly higher [RR: 1.60; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12–2.29] when compared with non-member countries.
Conclusion We found no association between specific aggregate indicators of trade liberalization and TB incidence. Our analyses provide evidence of a significant association between WTO membership and higher TB incidence, which suggests a possible conflict between the architecture of WTO agreements and TB-related Millennium Development Goals. Further research is needed, particularly on the relation between the aggregate trade indices used in this study and the hypothesized mediators and also on sector-specific indices, specific trade agreements and other (non-TB) health outcomes.
This study uses the hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) growth curve technique to explore predictors of the change in the
prevalence and frequency of cigarette smoking in China between 1991 and 2004. Using nationally representative data, the study
introduces a number of previously unanalysed variables at both the individual and the community level. The findings show that
a number of factors are associated with the change in both the prevalence and frequency of smoking in China. In addition,
there is a trend of decreasing prevalence of smoking in China after the effects of other covariates are adjusted. Finally,
the free market cigarette price has an inconsistent relationship with the change in the prevalence and frequency of smoking,
which further reveals the daunting task of tobacco control for public health scholars and policymakers in China.
Since its publication in 1993, the World Bank's World Development Report, Investing in Health, has been subjected to much criticism, particularly over the way it proposes to measure the health losses summarized in the concept of the 'burden of disease', and to establish priorities for health interventions according to the reduction in mortality and disability they could produce and what they would cost. Some of these criticisms are justified, and are recognized by the WDR; others arise from misunderstanding or misapplication of the concepts. Sifting these criticisms to arrive at a better understanding requires looking at what kind of analysis is involved, how the subjective elements of the exercise were determined, and how they can be used to choose which interventions deserve priority when a country cannot meet all its citizens' health needs.
The 1993 World Development Report, Investing in Health, suggests policies to assist governments of developing countries in improving the health of their populations. A new methodology to improve government spending is introduced. Epidemiological and economic analyses from the basis for a global priority setting exercise, leading to a recommended essential public health and clinical services package for low- and middle-income countries. Ministries of Health in many countries have expressed an interest in designing a national package of essential health services, using the methodology. Given the apparent importance attached to the study and its far reaching potential consequences, this article provides an overview of the method, the main issues and problems in estimating the burden of disease as well as the cost-effectiveness of interventions. Strengths and weaknesses in the databases, value judgements and assumptions are identified, leading to a critical analysis of the validity of the priority setting exercise on the global level.
Access to skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care are thought to prevent early neonatal deaths. This study aims to examine the association between the type of delivery attendant and place of delivery and early neonatal mortality in Indonesia. Four Indonesia Demographic and Health Surveys from 1994, 1997, 2002/2003 and 2007 were used, including survival information from 52 917 singleton live-born infants of the most recent birth of a mother within a 5-year period before each survey. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to obtain the hazard ratio for univariable and multivariable analyses. Our study found no significant reduction in the risk of early neonatal death for home deliveries assisted by the trained attendants compared with those assisted by untrained attendants. In rural areas, the risk of early neonatal death was higher for home deliveries assisted by trained attendants than home deliveries assisted by untrained attendants. In urban areas, a protective role of institutional deliveries was found if mothers had delivery complications. However, an increased risk was associated with deliveries in public hospitals in rural areas. Infants of mothers attending antenatal care services were significantly protected against early neonatal deaths, irrespective of the urban or rural setting. An increased risk of early neonatal death was also associated with male infants, infants whose size at birth was smaller than average and/or infants reported to be born early. A reduced risk was observed amongst mothers with high levels of education. Continuous improvement in the skills and the quality of the village midwives might benefit maternal and newborn survival. Efforts to strengthen the referral system and to improve the quality of delivery and newborn care services in health facilities are important, particularly in public hospitals and in rural areas.
This article provides the first ever review of literature analysing the health policy processes of low and middle income countries (LMICs). Based on a systematic search of published literature using two leading international databases, the article maps the terrain of work published between 1994 and 2007, in terms of policy topics, lines of inquiry and geographical base, as well as critically evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. The overall objective of the review is to provide a platform for the further development of this field of work.
From an initial set of several thousand articles, only 391 were identified as relevant to the focus of inquiry. Of these, 164 were selected for detailed review because they present empirical analyses of health policy change processes within LMIC settings. Examination of these articles clearly shows that LMIC health policy analysis is still in its infancy. There are only small numbers of such analyses, whilst the diversity of policy areas, topics and analytical issues that have been addressed across a large number of country settings results in a limited depth of coverage within this body of work. In addition, the majority of articles are largely descriptive in nature, limiting understanding of policy change processes within or across countries. Nonetheless, the broad features of experience that can be identified from these articles clearly confirm the importance of integrating concern for politics, process and power into the study of health policy. By generating understanding of the factors influencing the experience and results of policy change, such analysis can inform action to strengthen future policy development and implementation. This article, finally, outlines five key actions needed to strengthen the field of health policy analysis within LMICs, including capacity development and efforts to generate systematic and coherent bodies of work underpinned by both the intent to undertake rigorous analytical work and concern to support policy change.
This article identifies the effects of the 1997-98 East Asian economic crisis on health care use and health status in Indonesia. The article places the findings in the context of a framework showing the complex cause and effect relationships underlying the effects of economic downturns on health and health care. The results are based on primary analysis of Indonesian household survey data and review of a wide range of sources from the Indonesian government and international organizations. Comparisons are drawn with the effects of the crisis in Thailand. The devaluation of the Indonesian currency, the Rupiah, led to inflation and reduced real public expenditures on health. Households' expenditures on health also decreased, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of overall spending. Self-reported morbidity increased sharply from 1997 to 1998 in both rural and urban areas of Indonesia. The crisis led to a substantial reduction in health service utilization during the same time period, as the proportion of household survey respondents reporting an illness or injury that sought care from a modern health care provider declined by 25%. In contrast to Indonesia, health care utilization in Thailand actually increased during the crisis, corresponding to expansion in health insurance coverage. The results suggest that social protection programmes play a critical role in protecting populations against the adverse effects of economic downturns on health and health care.
Interest in community health insurance has grown rapidly in many developing countries, usually as a result of the weak capacity of governments to raise sufficient tax revenues and then to secure an adequate share for health care. There are many pitfalls, however, and only under specific conditions do community health insurance schemes appear to succeed in effectively improving access to care and enhancing financial protection against health care costs. In this paper, we focus on the initial experience with community health insurance in 19th century Japan, called 'Jyorei'. Whereas Jyorei began in 1835 in one village in Fukuoka Prefecture, it gradually expanded and the basic ideas came under government stewardship. It was scaled up as the core model of the National Citizen's Health Insurance Fund, one of the pillars of the Japanese social health insurance system. Several Jyorei success points are relevant today for developing countries wishing to support community health insurance. One of the key characteristics was social cohesion and the acceptance of equity goals with transfers between the rich and the poor.