[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: Every year, 2·9 million newborn babies die worldwide. A meta-analysis of four cluster-randomised controlled trials estimated that home visits by trained community members in programme settings in Ghana and south Asia reduced neonatal mortality by 12% (95% CI 5–18). We aimed to estimate the costs and cost-effectiveness of newborn home visits in a programme setting.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · The Lancet Global Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the last decade, almost every low- or middle-income country in the world has expressed support for universal health coverage (UHC). While at the beginning of the UHC movement, country strategies focused on increasing access to the formal sector as the first step of UHC, there is now consensus that countries should cover the entire population, with particular attention to covering the poor. However, it is often assumed that mandatory schemes will automatically cover their target populations, and consequently little is known about why firms comply or do not comply with enrolment requirements. Using the experience of Lao PDR, where the enrolment rate in the mandatory social security scheme is low and the capacity for regulation is weak, we conducted this study to better understand the determinants of enrolment of private sector firms in mandatory social security.
We used a cross-sectional case-comparison design, surveying 130 firms. We applied a structured questionnaire to explore determinants of enrolment, specifically looking at firm characteristics (e.g., industry category, ownership); sociodemographic characteristics of company heads; firms' risk perceptions; details of employment contracts; employee benefits; and exposure to social security. Closed ended questions were analysed quantitatively, while content analysis was applied to open-ended questions. Logistic regression was used to examine the determinants of enrolment.
Smaller privately owned firms in the services industry were the least likely to enrol in social security, while firms in the trade industry were more likely to enrol than firms in manufacturing, construction, or services. The main reason for not enrolling was that firms offered a better package of benefits to their employees, although further investigation of company benefits showed that this was not the case in practice. Additional reasons for non-compliance were lack of knowledge and poor quality of care at government hospitals.
The study contributes to the dialogue on how best to increase coverage in the formal sector, which is an important element of achieving UHC. It also provides much needed information about the motivation of private sector firms to comply with mandatory schemes.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · BMC Health Services Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
To assess the availability, price and market share of quality-assured artemisinin-based combination therapy (QAACT) in remote areas (RAs) compared with non-remote areas (nRAs) in Kenya and Ghana at end-line of the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) intervention.
Areas were classified by remoteness using a composite index computed from estimated travel times to three levels of service centres. The index was used to five categories of remoteness, which were then grouped into two categories of remote and non-remote areas. The number of public or private outlets with the potential to sell or distribute anti-malarial medicines, screened in nRAs and RAs, respectively, was 501 and 194 in Ghana and 9980 and 2353 in Kenya. The analysis compares RAs with nRAs in terms of availability, price and market share of QAACT in each country.
QAACT were similarly available in RAs as nRAs in Ghana and Kenya. In both countries, there was no statistical difference in availability of QAACT with AMFm logo between RAs and nRAs in public health facilities (PHFs), while private-for-profit (PFP) outlets had lower availability in RA than in nRAs (Ghana: 66.0 vs 82.2 %, p < 0.0001; Kenya: 44.9 vs 63.5 %, p = <0.0001. The median price of QAACT with AMFm logo for PFP outlets in RAs (USD1.25 in Ghana and USD0.69 in Kenya) was above the recommended retail price in Ghana (US$0.95) and Kenya (US$0.46), and much higher than in nRAs for both countries. QAACT with AMFm logo represented the majority of QAACT in RAs and nRAs in Kenya and Ghana. In the PFP sector in Ghana, the market share for QAACT with AMFm logo was significantly higher in RAs than in nRAs (75.6 vs 51.4 %, p < 0.0001). In contrast, in similar outlets in Kenya, the market share of QAACT with AMFm logo was significantly lower in RAs than in nRAs (39.4 vs 65.1 %, p < 0.0001).
The findings indicate the AMFm programme contributed to making QAACT more available in RAs in these two countries. Therefore, the AMFm approach can inform other health interventions aiming at reaching hard-to-reach populations, particularly in the context of universal access to health interventions. However, further examination of the factors accounting for the deep penetration of the AMFm programme into RAs is needed to inform actions to improve the healthcare delivery system, particularly in RAs.
[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.
No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Social Science & Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
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.
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.
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.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT 00811421; Pan African Trials Registry PACTR2010020001429343 and PACTR2010020001813440.
[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.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a bibliometric analysis of recently published full economic evaluations of health interventions
and reflect critically on the implications of our findings for this growing field. We created a database
drawing on 14 health, economic, and/or general literature databases for articles published between 1
January 2012 and 1 May 2014 and identified 2,844 economic evaluations meeting our criteria. We
present findings regarding the sensitivity, specificity, and added value of searches in the different
databases. We examine the distribution of publications between countries, regions, and health areas
studied and compare the relative volume of research with disease burden. We analyze authors’ country
and institutional affiliations, journals and journal type, language, and type of economic evaluation
conducted. More than 1,200 economic evaluations were published annually, of which 4% addressed lowincome
countries, 4% lower-middle-income countries, 14% upper-middle-income countries, and 83%
high-income countries. Across country income levels, 53%, 54%, 86%, and 100% of articles, respectively,
included an author based in a country within the income level studied. Biomedical journals published
74% of economic evaluations. The volume of research across health areas correlates more closely with
disease burden in high-income than in low- and middle-income countries. Our findings provide an
empirical basis for further study on methods, research prioritization, and capacity development in health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The analysis of equity in the distribution of health care payments requires nationally representative income and expenditure surveys, containing information on health care payments and ability to pay. Such national household surveys in developing countries collect limited information on out-of-pocket payments for health care but comprehensive information on household consumption expenditure (a proxy of income). There are also limited nationally representative health surveys to conduct equity analyses requiring an administration of small health-specific surveys to collect detailed information on health care payments. However, collecting household expenditure is expensive and time . This study compares quantile regression to Ordinary Least Square in predicting consumption expenditure. Split sample method and cross validation tests are used to evaluate the prediction methodology. Unlike OLS, the quantile model does not distort the values of, the Gini index, the concentration index and the Kakwani index and is the preferred method for predicting consumption expenditure for financing incidence analysis.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Social Indicators Research
[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.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Health Policy and Planning
[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
No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Health Policy and Planning
[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.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
[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.
[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.
[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.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · BMC Health Services Research