Equity, privatization and cost recovery in urban health care: the case of Lao PDR.
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
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.
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:norden:org:diva-3786PubMedID: 12477744OAI: oai:DiVA.org:norden-3786DiVA: diva2:787369