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Equity, privatization and cost recovery in urban health care: the case of Lao PDR.
Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic School of Public Health NHV. UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), The World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.
2002 (English)In: Health Policy and Planning, ISSN 0268-1080, E-ISSN 1460-2237, Vol. 17 Suppl, 72-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Along with the shift from a planned to market-oriented economy, as in many other developing countries, Lao PDR has promoted health care partnerships with the private sector, and cost recovery in public hospitals, to increase resources in the public sector, while at the same time attempting to ensure appropriate access to health care for those without means to pay. In a multi-case design, this study compares two neighbourhoods of different socioeconomic status comprising 10 households, representing urban districts in three provinces. In-depth interviews were conducted over a 1-year period with three visits to each household. Members of the households were interviewed on their perceptions and utilization of health care services. Focus group discussions of public providers and individual interviews of private providers, leaders of the villages and hospital administrators provided complementary perspectives. The study found that both socioeconomic groups utilized private health services as their first choice, including private clinics and treatment abroad for those with high socioeconomic status, while the low socioeconomic group preferred private pharmacies. The unwelcoming attitudes of health staff and procedural barriers have led both groups to meet their health care needs in the private sector. Here the health care they receive is strictly limited to what they can pay for. For the poor, in most cases, this means drugs alone, i.e. no examination, no diagnosis and only limited advice. Limited financial resources often means receiving inappropriate and insufficient medication. Equity in health care remains theoretical rather than practical and the social goals of the reform have not been achieved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 17 Suppl, 72-84 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:norden:org:diva-3786PubMedID: 12477744OAI: oai:DiVA.org:norden-3786DiVA: diva2:787369
Available from: 2015-02-10 Created: 2015-02-10 Last updated: 2015-02-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. 1990 - 2000: A Decade of Health Sector Reformin Developing Countries: Why, and What Did We Learn?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>1990 - 2000: A Decade of Health Sector Reformin Developing Countries: Why, and What Did We Learn?
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Objective: The overall aim of the work is to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics between health sector reform policies and practices as well as the factors that determine and shape the thinking about global public health; and to try out a framework for understanding the inter-linkages and interactions between the determinants for and the elements of health sector reforms and their implementation.

Methods: The object of study was a contemporary phenomenon, consisting of a diverse array of interventions in many different directions and fields within a complex political, social and economic environment. It is difficult to attribute the effects of the reforms to any single intervention or to establish exact boundaries between the phenomenon and the context. Therefore, a multi-stage case study research strategy, based on the work of R.K.Yin, was chosen. The study involved two major sub-units of analysis, i.e., the macro and the micro level. Each of these involved several sub-units of analysis. The analysis of the micro level further comprised a cross-case analysis of 10 individual case studies conducted in six developing countries.

Results: Clear linkages were found between the greater societal processes and the shape and results of reforms during the decade. The reforms had not been completed in any of the countries studied, but appeared to be stuck with undesired effects, lacking energy to move forward. Contributing to this was the diminishing role of the state, which bordered abdication from public health in most of the countries, leaving the drive to the market and individual demands and interests. The net effect could well be a reversal of some of the public health achievements of the past - however, it was also found that reverting to dedicated disease control programmes would not be the answer, as these were found unsustainable and undermining the health systems.

Conclusion: There is a divide between libertarian and utilitarian values on the one side and communitarian and egalitarian values on the other. Thus, it is not just about public health practitioners not being good enough to implement, it is more so about what we want to achieve and what it acceptable respectively not acceptable and reaching compromises. This place the societal processes at centre-stage for public health. However, it is also about implementation, it is about how public health policy-makers and reformers can effectively dialogue and facilitate achieving consensus and translate the societal 'wants' and 'want nots' into managerial bites. Implementation becomes a process of constant adjustment and readjustment oscillating between political and technocratic levels

Publisher
110 p.
Series
NHV Reports and Doctor of Public Health-Theses, ISSN 0283-1961 ; NHV Report 2005:2
Keyword
Health sector reform, values, implementation, developing countries, international public health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:norden:org:diva-3794 (URN)91-7997-111-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-01, Nordic School of Public Health NHV, Göteborg, Sweden, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-02-10 Created: 2015-02-10 Last updated: 2015-02-10Bibliographically approved

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