گزارش 2008 سازمان جهانی بهداشت

گزارش 2008 سازمان جهانی بهداشت

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The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care

SERVICE

DELIVERY

REFORMS

UNIVERSAL

COVERAGE

REFORMS

LEADERSHIP

REFORMS

PUBLIC

POLICY

REFORMS

16.9.2008 17:07:31

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The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care

More

WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

The world health report 2008 : primary health care now more than ever.

1.World health – trends. 2.Primary health care – trends. 3.Delivery of health care. 4.Health policy.

I.World Health Organization.

ISBN 978 92 4 156373 4

ISSN 1020-3311

(NLM classifi cation: W 84.6)

© World Health Organization 2008

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The World Health Report 2008

was produced under the overall direction of Tim Evans (Assistant Director-General) and Wim Van Lerberghe (editor-in-chief). The principal writing team consisted of Wim Van Lerberghe, Tim Evans, Kumanan Rasanathan and Abdelhay Mechbal. Other main contributors to the drafting of the report were: Anne Andermann, David

Evans, Benedicte Galichet, Alec Irwin, Mary Kay Kindhauser, Remo Meloni, Thierry Mertens, Charles Mock, Hernan Montenegro, Denis Porignon and Dheepa Rajan. Organizational supervision of the report was provided by Ramesh Shademani.

Contributions in the form of boxes, fi gures and data analysis came from: Alayne Adams, Jonathan Abrahams, Fiifi Amoako Johnson, Giovanni Ancona, Chris Bailey, Robert Beaglehole,

Henk Bekedam, Andre Biscaia, Paul Bossyns, Eric Buch, Andrew Cassels, Somnath Chatterji, Mario Dal Poz, Pim De Graaf, Jan De Maeseneer, Nick Drager, Varatharajan Durairaj, Joan

Dzenowagis, Dominique Egger, Ricardo Fabregas, Paulo Ferrinho, Daniel Ferrante, Christopher Fitzpatrick, Gauden Galea, Claudia Garcia Moreno, André Griekspoor, Lieve Goeman,

Miriam Hirschfeld, Ahmadreza Hosseinpoor, Justine Hsu, Chandika Indikadahena, Mie Inoue, Lori Irwin, Andre Isakov, Michel Jancloes, Miloud Kaddar, Hyppolite Kalambaye, Guy Kegels,

Meleckidzedeck Khayesi, Ilona Kickbush, Yohannes Kinfu, Tord Kjellstrom, Rüdiger Krech, Mohamed Laaziri, Colin Mathers, Zoe Matthews, Maureen Mackintosh, Di McIntyre, David

Meddings, Pierre Mercenier, Pat Neuwelt, Paolo Piva, Annie Portela, Yongyut Ponsupap, Amit Prasad, Rob Ridley, Ritu Sadana, David Sanders, Salif Samake, Gerard Schmets, Iqbal

Shah, Shaoguang Wang, Anand Sivasankara Kurup, Kenji Shibuya, Michel Thieren, Nicole Valentine, Nathalie Van de Maele, Jeanette Vega, Jeremy Veillard and Bob Woollard.

Valuable inputs in the form of contributions, peer reviews, suggestions and criticisms were received from the Regional Directors and their staff, from the Deputy Director-General,

Anarfi Asamoah Bah, and from the Assistant Directors-General.

The draft report was peer reviewed at a meeting in Montreux, Switzerland, with the following participants: Azrul Azwar, Tim Evans, Ricardo Fabrega, Sheila Campbell-Forrester,

Antonio Duran, Alec Irwin, Mohamed Ali Jaffer, Safurah Jaafar, Pongpisut Jongudomsuk, Joseph Kasonde, Kamran Lankarini, Abdelhay Mechbal, John Martin, Donald Matheson,

Jan De Maeseneer, Ravi Narayan, Sydney Saul Ndeki, Adrian Ong, Pongsadhorn Pokpermdee, Thomson Prentice, Kumanan Rasanathan, Salman Rawaf, Bijan Sadrizadeh, Hugo

Sanchez, Ramesh Shademani, Barbara Starfi eld, Than Tun Sein, Wim Van Lerberghe, Olga Zeus and Maria Hamlin Zuniga.

The report benefi ted greatly from the inputs of the following participants in a one-week workshop in Bellagio, Italy: Ahmed Abdullatif, Chris Bailey, Douglas Bettcher, John Bryant,

Tim Evans, Marie Therese Feuerstein, Abdelhay Mechbal, Thierry Mertens, Hernan Montenegro, Ronald Labonte, Socrates Litsios, Thelma Narayan, Thomson Prentice, Kumanan

Rasanathan, Myat Htoo Razak, Ramesh Shademani, Viroj Tangcharoensathien, Wim Van Lerberghe, Jeanette Vega and Jeremy Veillard.

WHO working groups provided the initial inputs into the report. These working groups, of both HQ and Regional staff included: Shelly Abdool, Ahmed Abdullatif, Shambhu Acharya,

Chris Bailey, James Bartram, Douglas Bettcher, Eric Blas, Ties Boerma, Robert Bos, Marie-Charlotte Boueseau, Gui Carrin, Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, Yves Chartier, Alessandro

Colombo, Carlos Corvalan, Bernadette Daelmans, Denis Daumerie, Tarun Dua, Joan Dzenowagis, David Evans, Tim Evans, Bob Fryatt, Michelle Funk, Chad Gardner, Giuliano Gargioni,

Gulin Gedik, Sandy Gove, Kersten Gutschmidt, Alex Kalache, Alim Khan, Ilona Kickbusch, Yunkap Kwankam, Richard Laing, Ornella Lincetto, Daniel Lopez-Acuna, Viviana Mangiaterra,

Colin Mathers, Michael Mbizvo, Abdelhay Mechbal, Kamini Mendis, Shanthi Mendis, Susan Mercado, Charles Mock, Hernan Montenegro, Catherine Mulholland, Peju Olukoya, Annie

Portela, Thomson Prentice, Annette Pruss-Ustun, Kumanan Rasanathan, Myat Htoo Razak, Lina Tucker Reinders, Elil Renganathan, Gojka Roglic, Michael Ryan, Shekhar Saxena,

Robert Scherpbier, Ramesh Shademani, Kenji Shibuya, Sameen Siddiqi, Orielle Solar, Francisco Songane, Claudia Stein, Kwok-Cho Tang, Andreas Ullrich, Mukund Uplekar, Wim Van

Lerberghe, Jeanette Vega, Jeremy Veillard, Eugenio Villar, Diana Weil and Juliana Yartey.

The editorial production team was led by Thomson Prentice, managing editor. The report was edited by Diana Hopkins, assisted by Barbara Campanini. Gaël Kernen assisted on graphics and produced the web site version and other electronic media. Lina Tucker Reinders provided editorial advice. The index was prepared by June Morrison.

Administrative support in the preparation of the report was provided by Saba Amdeselassie, Maryse Coutty, Melodie Fadriquela, Evelyne Omukubi and Christine Perry.

Photo credits: Director-General’s photograph: WHO (p. viii); introduction and overview: WHO/Marco Kokic (p. x); chapters 1–6: Alayne Adams (p. 1); WHO/Christopher Black (p. 23);

WHO/Karen Robinson (p. 41); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies/John Haskew (p. 63); Alayne Adams (p. 81); WHO/Thomas Moran (p. 99).

Design: Reda Sadki

Layout: Steve Ewart and Reda Sadki

Figures: Christophe Grangier

Printing Coordination: Pascale Broisin and Frédérique Robin-Wahlin

Printed in Switzerland

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

Message from the Director-General

Introduction and Overview

Responding to the challenges of a changing world

Growing expectations for better performance

From the packages of the past to the reforms of the future

Four sets of PHC reforms

Seizing opportunities

Contents

viii xi

xii xiii xiv xvi xviii

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

Unequal growth, unequal outcomes

Longer lives and better health, but not everywhere

Growth and stagnation

Adapting to new health challenges

A globalized, urbanized and ageing world

Little anticipation and slow reactions

Trends that undermine the health systems’ response

Hospital-centrism: health systems built around hospitals and specialists

Fragmentation: health systems built around priority programmes

Health systems left to drift towards unregulated commercialization

Changing values and rising expectations

Health equity

Care that puts people fi rst

Securing the health of communities

Reliable, responsive health authorities

Participation

PHC reforms: driven by demand

Chapter 2. Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

The central place of health equity in PHC

Moving towards universal coverage

Challenges in moving towards universal coverage

Rolling out primary-care networks to fi ll the availability gap

Overcoming the isolation of dispersed populations

Providing alternatives to unregulated commercial services

Targeted interventions to complement universal coverage mechanisms

Mobilizing for health equity

Increasing the visibility of health inequities

Creating space for civil society participation and empowerment

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The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

Chapter 3. Primary care: putting people fi rst

Good care is about people

The distinctive features of primary care

Effectiveness and safety are not just technical matters

Understanding people: person-centred care

Comprehensive and integrated responses

Continuity of care

A regular and trusted provider as entry point

Organizing primary-care networks

Bringing care closer to the people

Responsibility for a well-identifi ed population

The primary-care team as a hub of coordination

Monitoring progress

Chapter 4. Public policies for the public’s health

The importance of effective public policies for health

System policies that are aligned with PHC goals

Public-health policies

Aligning priority health programmes with PHC

Countrywide public-health initiatives

Rapid response capacity

Towards health in all policies

Understanding the under-investment

Opportunities for better public policies

Better information and evidence

A changing institutional landscape

Equitable and effi cient global health action

Chapter 5. Leadership and effective government

Governments as brokers for PHC reform

Mediating the social contract for health

Disengagement and its consequences

Participation and negotiation

Effective policy dialogue

Information systems to strengthen policy dialogue

Strengthening policy dialogue with innovations from the fi eld

Building a critical mass of capacity for change

Managing the political process: from launching reform to implementing it

Chapter 6. The way forward

Adapting reforms to country context

High-expenditure health economics

Rapid-growth health economies

Low-expenditure, low-growth health economies

Mobilizing the drivers of reform

Mobilizing the production of knowledge

Mobilizing the commitment of the workforce

Mobilizing the participation of people iv

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Contents

List of Figures

Figure 1.

The PHC reforms necessary to refocus health systems towards health for all

Figure 1.1

Selected best performing countries in reducing underfi ve mortality by at least 80%, by regions, 1975–2006

Figure 1.2

Factors explaining mortality reduction in Portugal,

1960–2008

Figure 1.3

Variable progress in reducing under-fi ve mortality,

1975 and 2006, in selected countries with similar rates in 1975

Figure 1.4

GDP per capita and life expectancy at birth in 169 countries, 1975 and 2005

Figure 1.5

Trends in GDP per capita and life expectancy at birth in 133 countries grouped by the 1975 GDP, 1975−2005

Figure 1.6

Countries grouped according to their total health expenditure in 2005 (international $)

Figure 1.7

Africa’s children are at more risk of dying from traffi c accidents than European children: child road-traffi c deaths per

100 000 population

Figure 1.8

The shift towards noncommunicable diseases and accidents as causes of death

Figure 1.9

Within-country inequalities in health and health care

Figure 1.10

How health systems are diverted from PHC core values

Figure 1.11

Percentage of the population citing health as their main concern before other issues, such as fi nancial problems, housing or crime

Figure 1.12

The professionalization of birthing care: percentage of births assisted by professional and other carers in selected areas, 2000 and 2005 with projections to 2015

Figure 1.13

The social values that drive PHC and the corresponding sets of reforms

Figure 2.1

Catastrophic expenditure related to out-of-pocket payment at the point of service

Figure 2.2

Three ways of moving towards universal coverage

Figure 2.3

Impact of abolishing user fees on outpatient attendance in Kisoro district, Uganda: outpatient attendance

1998–2002

Figure 2.4

Different patterns of exclusion: massive deprivation in some countries, marginalization of the poor in others. Births attended by medically trained personnel (percentage), by income group

Figure 2.5

Under-fi ve mortality in rural and urban areas, the

Islamic Republic of Iran, 1980–2000

Figure 2.6

Improving health-care outputs in the midst of disaster: Rutshuru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

1985–2004 xvi

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Figure 3.1

The effect on uptake of contraception of the reorganization of work schedules of rural health centres in Niger

Figure 3.2

Lost opportunities for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) in Côte d’Ivoire: only a tiny fraction of the expected transmissions are actually prevented

Figure 3.3

More comprehensive health centres have better vaccination coverage

Figure 3.4

Inappropriate investigations prescribed for simulated patients presenting with a minor stomach complaint in Thailand

Figure 3.5

Primary care as a hub of coordination: networking within the community served and with outside partners

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Figure 4.1

Deaths attributable to unsafe abortion per 100 000 live births, by legal grounds for abortions

Figure 4.2

Annual pharmaceutical spending and number of prescriptions dispensed in New Zealand since the

Pharmaceutical Management Agency was convened in 1993

Figure 4.3

Percentage of births and deaths recorded in countries with complete civil registration systems, by WHO region,

1975–2004

Figure 4.4

Essential public-health functions that 30 national public-health institutions view as being part of their portfolio

Figure 5.1

Percentage of GDP used for health, 2005

Figure 5.2

Health expenditure in China: withdrawal of the State in the 1980s and 1990s and recent re-engagement

Figure 5.3

Transforming information systems into instruments for PHC reform

Figure 5.4

Mutual reinforcement between innovation in the fi eld and policy development in the health reform process

Figure 5.5

A growing market: technical cooperation as part of

Offi cial Development Aid for Health. Yearly aid fl ows in 2005, defl ator adjusted

Figure 5.6

Re-emerging national leadership in health: the shift in donor funding towards integrated health systems support, and its impact on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 2004 PHC strategy

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Figure 6.1

Contribution of general government, private pre-paid and private out-of-pocket expenditure to the yearly growth in total health expenditure per capita, percentage, weighted averages

Figure 6.2

Projected per capita health expenditure in 2015, rapid-growth health economies (weighted averages)

Figure 6.3

Projected per capita health expenditure in 2015, low expenditure, low-growth health economies (weighted averages)

Figure 6.4

The progressive extension of coverage by communityowned, community–operated health centres in Mali, 1998–2007

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The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

List of Boxes

Box 1

Five common shortcomings of health-care delivery

Box 2

What has been considered primary care in well-resourced contexts has been dangerously oversimplifi ed in resourceconstrained settings

Box 1.1

Economic development and investment choices in health care: the improvement of key health indicators in Portugal

Box 1.2

Higher spending on health is associated with better outcomes, but with large differences between countries

Box 1.3

As information improves, the multiple dimensions of growing health inequality are becoming more apparent

Box 1.4

Medical equipment and pharmaceutical industries are major economic forces

Box 1.5

Health is among the top personal concerns

Box 2.1

Best practices in moving towards universal coverage

Box 2.2

Defi ning “essential packages”: what needs to be done to go beyond a paper exercise?

Box 2.3

Closing the urban-rural gap through progressive expansion of PHC coverage in rural areas in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Box 2.4

The robustness of PHC-led health systems: 20 years of expanding performance in Rutshuru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Box 2.5

Targeting social protection in Chile

Box 2.6

Social policy in the city of Ghent, Belgium: how local authorities can support intersectoral collaboration between health and welfare organizations

Box 3.1

Towards a science and culture of improvement: evidence to promote patient safety and better outcomes

Box 3.2

When supplier-induced and consumer-driven demand determine medical advice: ambulatory care in India

Box 3.3

The health-care response to partner violence against women

Box 3.4

Empowering users to contribute to their own health

Box 3.5

Using information and communication technologies to improve access, quality and effi ciency in primary care xiv xvii

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Box 4.1

Rallying society’s resources for health in Cuba

Box 4.2

Recommendations of the Commission on Social

Determinants of Health

Box 4.3

How to make unpopular public policy decisions

Box 4.4

The scandal of invisibility: where births and deaths are not counted

Box 4.5

European Union impact assessment guidelines

Box 5.1

From withdrawal to re-engagement in China

Box 5.2

Steering national directions with the help of policy dialogue: experience from three countries

Box 5.3

Equity Gauges: stakeholder collaboration to tackle health inequalities

Box 5.4

Limitations of conventional capacity building in low- and middle-income countries

Box 5.5

Rebuilding leadership in health in the aftermath of war and economic collapse

Box 6.1

Norway’s national strategy to reduce social inequalities in health

Box 6.2

The virtuous cycle of supply of and demand for primary care

Box 6.3.

From product development to fi eld implementation − research makes the link

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75 vi

List of Tables

Table 1

How experience has shifted the focus of the PHC movement

Table 3.1

Aspects of care that distinguish conventional health care from people-centred primary care

Table 3.2

Person-centredness: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Table 3.3

Comprehensiveness: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Table 3.4

Continuity of care: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Table 3.5

Regular entry point: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Table 4.1

Adverse health effects of changing work circumstances

Table 5.1

Roles and functions of public-health observatories in

England

Table 5.2

Signifi cant factors in improving institutional capacity for health-sector governance in six countries xv

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Contents

vii

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

Director-General’s

Message

health care. More important than my own conviction, this refl ects the widespread and growing demand for primary health care from Member States. This demand in turn displays a growing appetite among policymakers for knowledge related to how health systems can become viii the Declaration of Alma-Ata on Primary

Health Care in 1978. While our global health context has changed remarkably over six decades, the values that lie at the core of the WHO Constitution and those that informed the Alma-Ata Declaration have been tested and remain true. Yet, despite enormous progress in health globally, our collective failures to deliver in line with these values are painfully obvious and deserve our greatest attention.

We see a mother suffering complications of labour without access to qualifi ed support, a child missing out on essential vaccinations, an inner-city slum dweller living in squalor. We see the absence of protection for pedestrians alongside traffi c-laden roads and highways, and the impoverishment arising from direct payment for care because of a lack of health insurance. These and many other everyday realities of life personify the unacceptable and avoidable shortfalls in the performance of our health systems.

In moving forward, it is important to learn from the past and, in looking back, it is clear that we can do better in the future. Thus, this World Health Report revisits the ambitious vision of primary health care as a set of values and principles for guiding the development of health systems. The Report represents an important opportunity to draw on the lessons of the past, consider the challenges that

Director-General’s Message

lie ahead, and identify major avenues for health systems to narrow the intolerable gaps between aspiration and implementation.

These avenues are defi ned in the Report as four sets of reforms that refl ect a convergence between the values of primary health care, the expectations of citizens and the common health performance challenges that cut across all contexts. They include:

Q

universal coverage reforms

that ensure that

Q

Q health systems contribute to health equity, social justice and the end of exclusion, primarily by moving towards universal access and social health protection;

service delivery reforms

that re-organize health services around people’s needs and expectations, so as to make them more socially relevant and more responsive to the changing world, while producing better outcomes;

public policy reforms

that secure healthier

Q communities, by integrating public health actions with primary care, by pursuing healthy public policies across sectors and by strengthening national and transnational public health interventions; and

leadership reforms

that replace disproportionate reliance on command and control on one hand, and laissez-faire disengagement of the state on the other, by the inclusive, participatory, negotiation-based leadership indicated by the complexity of contemporary health systems.

While universally applicable, these reforms do not constitute a blueprint or a manifesto for action. The details required to give them life in each country must be driven by specifi c conditions and contexts, drawing on the best available evidence. Nevertheless, there are no reasons why any country − rich or poor − should wait to begin moving forward with these reforms. As the last three decades have demonstrated, substantial progress is possible.

Doing better in the next 30 years means that we need to invest now in our ability to bring actual performance in line with our aspirations, expectations and the rapidly changing realities of our interdependent health world. United by the common challenge of primary health care, the time is ripe, now more than ever, to foster joint learning and sharing across nations to chart the most direct course towards health for all.

Dr Margaret Chan

Director-General

World Health Organization ix

Introduction

and Overview

Why a renewal of primary health care (PHC), and why now, more than ever? The immediate answer is the palpable demand for it from Member States – not just from health professionals, but from the political arena as well.

Responding to the challenges of a changing world

Globalization is putting the social cohesion of many countries under stress,

Growing expectations for better performance

and health systems, as key constituents

From the packages of the past to the reforms of the future

of the architecture of contemporary

Four sets of PHC reforms

societies, are clearly not performing as

Seizing opportunities

well as they could and as they should.

People are increasingly impatient with the inability of health services to deliver levels of national coverage that meet stated demands and changing needs, and with their failure to provide services in ways that correspond to their expectations. Few would disagree that health systems need to respond better – and faster – to the challenges of a changing world. PHC can do that.

xii xiii xiv xvi xviii

xi

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

xii

There is today a recognition that populations are left behind and a sense of lost opportunities that are reminiscent of what gave rise, thirty years ago, to Alma-Ata’s paradigm shift in thinking about health. The Alma-Ata Conference mobilized a “Primary Health Care movement” of professionals and institutions, governments and civil society organizations, researchers and grassroots organizations that undertook to tackle the “

politically, socially and economically unacceptable”

1

health inequalities in all countries.

The Declaration of Alma-Ata was clear about the values pursued: social justice and the right to better health for all, participation and solidarity

1

.

There was a sense that progress towards these values required fundamental changes in the way health-care systems operated and harnessed the potential of other sectors.

The translation of these values into tangible reforms has been uneven. Nevertheless, today, health equity enjoys increased prominence in the discourse of political leaders and ministries of health

2

, as well as of local government structures, professional organizations and civil society organizations.

The PHC values to achieve health for all require health systems that

“Put people at the centre of health care”

3

. What people consider desirable ways of living as individuals and what they expect for their societies – i.e. what people value – constitute important parameters for governing the health sector. PHC has remained the benchmark for most countries’ discourse on health precisely because the PHC movement tried to provide rational, evidence-based and anticipatory responses to health needs

and

to these social expectations

4,5,6,7

. Achieving this requires trade-offs that must start by taking into account citizens’

“expectations about health and health care”

and ensuring

“that [their] voice and choice decisively infl uence the way in which health services are designed and operate”

8

.

A recent PHC review echoes this perspective as the

“right to the highest attainable level of health”

,

“maximizing equity and solidarity”

while being guided by

“responsiveness to people’s needs”

4

.

Moving towards health for all requires that health systems respond to the challenges of a changing world and growing expectations for better performance. This involves substantial reorientation and reform of the ways health systems operate in society today: those reforms constitute the agenda of the renewal of PHC.

Responding to the challenges of a changing world

On the whole, people are healthier, wealthier and live longer today than 30 years ago. If children were still dying at 1978 rates, there would have been 16.2 million deaths globally in 2006. In fact, there were only 9.5 million such deaths

9

. This difference of 6.7 million is equivalent to 18 329 children’s lives being saved every day. The once revolutionary notion of essential drugs has become commonplace. There have been signifi cant improvements in access to water, sanitation and antenatal care.

This shows that progress is possible. It can also be accelerated. There have never been more resources available for health than now. The global health economy is growing faster than gross domestic product (GDP), having increased its share from 8% to 8.6% of the world’s GDP between

2000 and 2005. In absolute terms, adjusted for infl ation, this represents a 35% growth in the world’s expenditure on health over a fi ve-year period. Knowledge and understanding of health are growing rapidly. The accelerated technological revolution is multiplying the potential for improving health and transforming health literacy in a better-educated and modernizing global society. A global stewardship is emerging: from intensifi ed exchanges between countries, often in recognition of shared threats, challenges or opportunities; from growing solidarity; and from the global commitment to eliminate poverty exemplifi ed in the Millennium Development Goals

(MDGs).

However, there are other trends that must not be ignored. First, the substantial progress in health over recent decades has been deeply unequal, with convergence towards improved health in a large part of the world, but at the same time, with a considerable number of countries increasingly lagging behind or losing ground.

Furthermore, there is now ample documentation – not available 30 years ago – of considerable and often growing health inequalities within countries.

Introduction and Overview

Second, the nature of health problems is changing in ways that were only partially anticipated, and at a rate that was wholly unexpected. Ageing and the effects of ill-managed urbanization and globalization accelerate worldwide transmission of communicable diseases, and increase the burden of chronic and noncommunicable disorders. The growing reality that many individuals present with complex symptoms and multiple illnesses challenges service delivery to develop more integrated and comprehensive case management. A complex web of interrelated factors is at work, involving gradual but longterm increases in income and population, climate change, challenges to food security, and social tensions, all with defi nite, but largely unpredictable, implications for health in the years ahead.

Third, health systems are not insulated from the rapid pace of change and transformation that is an essential part of today’s globalization. Economic and political crises challenge state and institutional roles to ensure access, delivery and fi nancing. Unregulated commercialization is accompanied by a blurring of the boundaries between public and private actors, while the negotiation of entitlement and rights is increasingly politicized. The information age has transformed the relations between citizens, professionals and politicians.

In many regards, the responses of the health sector to the changing world have been inadequate and naïve. Inadequate, insofar as they not only fail to anticipate, but also to respond appropriately: too often with too little, too late or too much in the wrong place. Naïve insofar as a system’s failure requires a system’s solution – not a temporary remedy. Problems with human resources for public health and health care, fi nance, infrastructure or information systems invariably extend beyond the narrowly defi ned health sector, beyond a single level of policy purview and, increasingly, across borders: this raises the benchmark in terms of working effectively across government and stakeholders.

While the health sector remains massively under-resourced in far too many countries, the resource base for health has been growing consistently over the last decade. The opportunities this growth offers for inducing structural changes and making health systems more effective and equitable are often missed. Global and, increasingly, national policy formulation processes have focused on single issues, with various constituencies competing for scarce resources, while scant attention is given to the underlying constraints that hold up health systems development in national contexts. Rather than improving their response capacity and anticipating new challenges, health systems seem to be drifting from one short-term priority to another, increasingly fragmented and without a clear sense of direction.

Today, it is clear that left to their own devices, health systems do not gravitate naturally towards the goals of health for all through primary health care as articulated in the Declaration of Alma-

Ata. Health systems are developing in directions that contribute little to equity and social justice and fail to get the best health outcomes for their money. Three particularly worrisome trends can be characterized as follows:

Q health systems that focus disproportionately on a narrow offer of specialized curative care;

Q

Q health systems where a command-and-control approach to disease control, focused on shortterm results, is fragmenting service delivery; health systems where a hands-off or laissezfaire approach to governance has allowed unregulated commercialization of health to fl ourish.

These trends fl y in the face of a comprehensive and balanced response to health needs. In a number of countries, the resulting inequitable access, impoverishing costs, and erosion of trust in health care constitute a threat to social stability.

Growing expectations for better performance

The support for a renewal of PHC stems from the growing realization among health policy-makers that it can provide a stronger sense of direction and unity in the current context of fragmentation of health systems, and an alternative to the assorted quick fi xes currently touted as cures for the health sector’s ills. There is also a growing realization that conventional health-care xiii

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

delivery, through different mechanisms and for different reasons, is not only less effective than it could be, but suffers from a set of ubiquitous shortcomings and contradictions that are summarized in Box 1.

The mismatch between expectations and performance is a cause of concern for health authorities. Given the growing economic weight and social signifi cance of the health sector, it is also an increasing cause for concern among politicians: it is telling that health-care issues were, on average, mentioned more than 28 times in each of the recent primary election debates in the United States

22

. Business as usual for health systems is not a viable option. If these shortfalls in performance are to be redressed, the health

Box 1

Five common shortcomings of health-care delivery

problems of today and tomorrow will require stronger collective management and accountability guided by a clearer sense of overall direction and purpose.

Indeed, this is what people expect to happen.

As societies modernize, people demand more from their health systems, for themselves and their families, as well as for the society in which they live. Thus, there is increasingly popular support for better health equity and an end to exclusion; for health services that are centred on people’s needs and expectations; for health security for the communities in which they live; and for a say in what affects their health and that of their communities

23

.

These expectations resonate with the values that were at the core of the Declaration of Alma-

Ata. They explain the current demand for a better alignment of health systems with these values and provide today’s PHC movement with reinvigorated social and political backing for its attempts to reform health systems.

Inverse care.

People with the most means – whose needs for health care are often less – consume the most care, whereas those with the least means and greatest health problems consume the least

10

. Public spending on health services most often benefi ts the rich more than the poor

11

in high- and lowincome countries alike

12,13

.

Impoverishing care

. Wherever people lack social protection and payment for care is largely out-of-pocket at the point of service, they can be confronted with catastrophic expenses.

Over 100 million people annually fall into poverty because they have to pay for health care

14

.

Fragmented and fragmenting care

. The excessive specialization of health-care providers and the narrow focus of many disease control programmes discourage a holistic approach to the individuals and the families they deal with and do not appreciate the need for continuity in care

15

. Health services for poor and marginalized groups are often highly fragmented and severely under-resourced

16

, while development aid often adds to the fragmentation

17

.

Unsafe care

. Poor system design that is unable to ensure safety and hygiene standards leads to high rates of hospital-acquired infections, along with medication errors and other avoidable adverse effects that are an underestimated cause of death and ill-health

18

.

Misdirected care.

Resource allocation clusters around curative services at great cost, neglecting the potential of primary prevention and health promotion to prevent up to 70% of the disease burden

19,20

. At the same time, the health sector lacks the expertise to mitigate the adverse effects on health from other sectors and make the most of what these other sectors can contribute to health

21

.

From the packages of the past to the reforms of the future

Rising expectations and broad support for the vision set forth in Alma-Ata’s values have not always easily translated into effective transformation of health systems. There have been circumstances and trends from beyond the health sector – structural adjustment, for example – over which the PHC movement had little infl uence or control. Furthermore, all too often, the

PHC movement has oversimplifi ed its message, resulting in one-size-fi ts-all recipes, ill-adapted to different contexts and problems

24

. As a result, national and global health authorities have at times seen PHC not as a set of reforms, as was intended, but as one health-care delivery programme among many, providing poor care for poor people. Table 1 looks at different dimensions of early attempts at implementing PHC and contrasts this with current approaches. Inherent in this evolution is recognition that providing a sense of direction to health systems requires a set of specifi c and context-sensitive reforms that respond to the health challenges of today and prepare for those of tomorrow.

xiv

Introduction and Overview

The focus of these reforms goes well beyond

“basic” service delivery and cuts across the established boundaries of the building blocks of national health systems

25

. For example, aligning health systems based on the values that drive PHC will require ambitious human resources policies.

However, it would be an illusion to think that these can be developed in isolation from fi nancing or service delivery policies, civil service reform and arrangements dealing with the cross-border migration of health professionals.

At the same time, PHC reforms, and the PHC movement that promotes them, have to be more responsive to social change and rising expectations that come with development and modernization. People all over the world are becoming more vocal about health as an integral part of how they and their families go about their everyday lives, and about the way their society deals with health and health care. The dynamics of demand must fi nd a voice within the policy and decisionmaking processes. The necessary reorientation of health systems has to be based on sound scientifi c evidence and on rational management of uncertainty, but it should also integrate what people expect of health and health care for themselves, their families and their society. This requires delicate trade-offs and negotiation with multiple stakeholders that imply a stark departure from the linear, top-down models of the past. Thus,

PHC reforms today are neither primarily defi ned by the component elements they address, nor merely by the choice of disease control interventions to be scaled up, but by the social dynamics that defi ne the role of health systems in society.

Table 1

How experience has shifted the focus of the PHC movement

EARLY ATTEMPTS AT IMPLEMENTING PHC

Extended access to a basic package of health interventions and essential drugs for the rural poor

Concentration on mother and child health

Focus on a small number of selected diseases, primarily infectious and acute

Improvement of hygiene, water, sanitation and health education at village level

Simple technology for volunteer, non-professional community health workers

Participation as the mobilization of local resources and health-centre management through local health committees

Government-funded and delivered services with a centralized top-down management

Management of growing scarcity and downsizing

CURRENT CONCERNS OF PHC REFORMS

Transformation and regulation of existing health systems, aiming for universal access and social health protection

Dealing with the health of everyone in the community

A comprehensive response to people’s expectations and needs, spanning the range of risks and illnesses

Promotion of healthier lifestyles and mitigation of the health effects of social and environmental hazards

Teams of health workers facilitating access to and appropriate use of technology and medicines

Institutionalized participation of civil society in policy dialogue and accountability mechanisms

Pluralistic health systems operating in a globalized context

Bilateral aid and technical assistance

Primary care as the antithesis of the hospital

PHC is cheap and requires only a modest investment

Guiding the growth of resources for health towards universal coverage

Global solidarity and joint learning

Primary care as coordinator of a comprehensive response at all levels

PHC is not cheap: it requires considerable investment, but it provides better value for money than its alternatives xv

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

xvi

Four sets of PHC reforms

This report structures the PHC reforms in four groups that refl ect the convergence between the evidence on what is needed for an effective response to the health challenges of today’s world, the values of equity, solidarity and social justice that drive the PHC movement, and the growing expectations of the population in modernizing societies (Figure 1):

Q

Q reforms that ensure that health systems contribute to health equity, social justice and the end of exclusion, primarily by moving towards universal access and social health protection

universal coverage reforms

; reforms that reorganize health services as primary care, i.e. around people’s needs and expectations, so as to make them more socially

Q

Q relevant and more responsive to the changing world while producing better outcomes –

service delivery reforms

; reforms that secure healthier communities, by integrating public health actions with primary care and by pursuing healthy public policies across sectors –

public policy reforms

; reforms that replace disproportionate reliance on command and control on one hand, and laissez-faire disengagement of the state on the other, by the inclusive, participatory, negotiation-based leadership required by the complexity of contemporary health systems –

leadership reforms

.

The fi rst of these four sets of reforms aims at diminishing exclusion and social disparities in health. Ultimately, the determinants of health inequality require a societal response, with political and technical choices that affect many different sectors. Health inequalities are also shaped by the inequalities in availability, access and quality of services, by the fi nancial burden these impose on people, and even by the linguistic, cultural and gender-based barriers that are often embedded in the way in which clinical practice is conducted

26

.

If health systems are to reduce health inequities, a precondition is to make services available to all, i.e. to bridge the gap in the supply of services.

Service networks are much more extensive today

Figure 1

The PHC reforms necessary to refocus health systems towards health for all

UNIVERSAL

COVERAGE

REFORMS

to improve health equity

LEADERSHIP

REFORMS

to make health authorities more reliable

SERVICE

DELIVERY

REFORMS

to make health systems people-centred

PUBLIC POLICY

REFORMS

to promote and protect the health of communities

than they were 30 years ago, but large population groups have been left behind. In some places, war and civil strife have destroyed infrastructure, in others, unregulated commercialization has made services available, but not necessarily those that are needed. Supply gaps are still a reality in many countries, making extension of their service networks a priority concern, as was the case 30 years ago.

As the overall supply of health services has improved, it has become more obvious that barriers to access are important factors of inequity: user fees, in particular, are important sources of exclusion from needed care. Moreover, when people have to purchase health care at a price that is beyond their means, a health problem can quickly precipitate them into poverty or bankruptcy

14

.

That is why extension of the supply of services has to go hand-in-hand with social health protection, through pooling and pre-payment instead of out-of-pocket payment of user fees. The reforms to bring about universal coverage – i.e. universal access combined with social health protection

– constitute a necessary condition to improved health equity. As systems that have achieved near universal coverage show, such reforms need to be complemented with another set of proactive measures to reach the unreached: those for whom service availability and social protection

Introduction and Overview

does too little to offset the health consequences of social stratifi cation. Many individuals in this group rely on health-care networks that assume the responsibility for the health of entire communities. This is where a second set of reforms, the service delivery reforms, comes in.

These service delivery reforms are meant to transform conventional health-care delivery into primary care, optimizing the contribution of health services – local health systems, health-care networks, health districts – to health and equity while responding to the growing expectations for

“putting people at the centre of health care, harmonizing mind and body, people and systems”

3

.

These service delivery reforms are but one subset of PHC reforms, but one with such a high profi le that it has often masked the broader PHC agenda.

The resulting confusion has been compounded by the oversimplifi cation of what primary care entails and of what distinguishes it from conventional health-care delivery (Box 2)

24

.

There is a substantial body of evidence on the comparative advantages, in terms of effectiveness and effi ciency, of health care organized as peoplecentred primary care. Despite variations in the specifi c terminology, its characteristic features

(person-centredness, comprehensiveness and integration, continuity of care, and participation of patients, families and communities) are well identifi ed

15,27

. Care that exhibits these features requires health services that are organized accordingly, with close-to-client multidisciplinary teams that are responsible for a defi ned population, collaborate with social services and other sectors, and coordinate the contributions of hospitals, specialists and community organizations. Recent economic growth has brought additional resources to health. Combined with the growing demand for better performance, this creates major opportunities to reorient existing health services towards primary care – not only in well-resourced settings, but also where money is tight and needs are high. In the many low- and middle-income countries where the supply of services is in a phase of accelerated expansion, there is an opportunity now to chart a course that may avoid repeating some of the mistakes highincome countries have made in the past.

Primary care can do much to improve the health of communities, but it is not suffi cient to respond to people’s desires to live in conditions that protect their health, support health equity

Box 2

What has been considered primary care in well-resourced contexts has been dangerously oversimplifi ed in resource-constrained settings

Primary care has been defi ned, described and studied extensively in well-resourced contexts, often with reference to physicians with a specialization in family medicine or general practice. These descriptions provide a far more ambitious agenda than the unacceptably restrictive and off-putting primary-care recipes that have been touted for low-income countries

27,28

:

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q primary care provides a place to which people can bring a wide range of health problems – it is not acceptable that in low-income countries primary care would only deal with a few “priority diseases”; primary care is a hub from which patients are guided through the health system – it is not acceptable that, in low-income countries, primary care would be reduced to a stand-alone health post or isolated community-health worker; primary care facilitates ongoing relationships between patients and clinicians, within which patients participate in decision-making about their health and health care; it builds bridges between personal health care and patients’ families and communities – it is not acceptable that, in low-income countries, primary care would be restricted to a one-way delivery channel for priority health interventions; primary care opens opportunities for disease prevention and health promotion as well as early detection of disease – it is not acceptable that, in low-income countries, primary care would just be about treating common ailments; primary care requires teams of health professionals: physicians, nurse practitioners, and assistants with specifi c and sophisticated biomedical and social skills – it is not acceptable that, in low-income countries, primary care would be synonymous with low-tech, non-professional care for the rural poor who cannot afford any better; primary care requires adequate resources and investment, and can then provide much better value for money than its alternatives

– it is not acceptable that, in low-income countries, primary care would have to be fi nanced through out-of-pocket payments on the erroneous assumption that it is cheap and the poor should be able to afford it.

xvii

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

xviii and enable them to lead the lives that they value.

People also expect their governments to put into place an array of public policies to deal with health challenges, such as those posed by urbanization, climate change, gender discrimination or social stratifi cation.

These public policies encompass the technical policies and programmes dealing with priority health problems. These programmes can be designed to work through, support and give a boost to primary care, or they can neglect to do this and, however unwillingly, undermine efforts to reform service delivery. Health authorities have a major responsibility to make the right design decisions. Programmes to target priority health problems through primary care need to be complemented by public-health interventions at national or international level. These may offer scale effi ciencies; for some problems, they may be the only workable option. The evidence is overwhelming that action on that scale, for selected interventions, which may range from public hygiene and disease prevention to health promotion, can have a major contribution to health. Yet, they are surprisingly neglected, across all countries, regardless of income level.

This is particularly visible at moments of crisis and acute threats to the public’s health, when rapid response capacity is essential not only to secure health, but also to maintain the public trust in the health system.

Public policy-making, however, is about more than classical public health. Primary care and social protection reforms critically depend on choosing health-systems policies, such as those related to essential drugs, technology, human resources and fi nancing, which are supportive of the reforms that promote equity and people-centred care. Furthermore, it is clear that population health can be improved through policies that are controlled by sectors other than health. School curricula, the industry’s policy towards gender equality, the safety of food and consumer goods, or the transport of toxic waste are all issues that can profoundly infl uence or even determine the health of entire communities, positively or negatively, depending on what choices are made. With deliberate efforts towards intersectoral collaboration, it is possible to give due consideration to

“health in all policies”

29

to ensure that, along with the other sectors’ goals and objectives, health effects play a role in public policy decisions.

In order to bring about such reforms in the extraordinarily complex environment of the health sector, it will be necessary to reinvest in public leadership in a way that pursues collaborative models of policy dialogue with multiple stakeholders – because this is what people expect, and because this is what works best. Health authorities can do a much better job of formulating and implementing PHC reforms adapted to specifi c national contexts and constraints if the mobilization around PHC is informed by the lessons of past successes and failures. The governance of health is a major challenge for ministries of health and the other institutions, governmental and nongovernmental, that provide health leadership. They can no longer be content with mere administration of the system: they have to become learning organizations. This requires inclusive leadership that engages with a variety of stakeholders beyond the boundaries of the public sector, from clinicians to civil society, and from communities to researchers and academia. Strategic areas for investment to improve the capacity of health authorities to lead

PHC reforms include making health information systems instrumental to reform; harnessing the innovations in the health sector and the related dynamics in all societies; and building capacity through exchange and exposure to the experience of others – within and across borders.

Seizing opportunities

These four sets of PHC reforms are driven by shared values that enjoy large support and challenges that are common to a globalizing world.

Yet, the starkly different realities faced by individual countries must inform the way they are taken forward. The operationalization of universal coverage, service delivery, public policy and leadership reforms cannot be implemented as a blueprint or as a standardized package.

In high-expenditure health economies, which is the case of most high-income countries, there is ample fi nancial room to accelerate the shift from tertiary to primary care, create a healthier policy environment and complement a well-established

Introduction and Overview

universal coverage system with targeted measures to reduce exclusion. In the large number of fast-growing health economies – which is where

3 billion people live – that very growth provides opportunities to base health systems on sound primary care and universal coverage principles at a stage where it is in full expansion, avoiding the errors by omission, such as failing to invest in healthy public policies, and by commission, such as investing disproportionately in tertiary care, that have characterized health systems in high-income countries in the recent past. The challenge is, admittedly, more daunting for the

2 billion people living in the low-growth health economies of Africa and South-East Asia, as well as for the more than 500 million who live in fragile states. Yet, even here, there are signs of growth – and evidence of a potential to accelerate it through other means than through the counterproductive reliance on inequitable out-of-pocket payments at points of delivery – that offer possibilities to expand health systems and services.

Indeed, more than in other countries, they cannot afford not to opt for PHC and, as elsewhere, they can start doing so right away.

The current international environment is favourable to a renewal of PHC. Global health is receiving unprecedented attention, with growing interest in united action, greater calls for comprehensive and universal care – be it from people living with HIV and those concerned with providing treatment and care, ministers of health, or the Group of Eight (G8) – and a mushrooming of innovative global funding mechanisms related to global solidarity. There are clear and welcome signs of a desire to work together in building sustainable systems for health rather than relying on fragmented and piecemeal approaches

30

.

At the same time, there is a perspective of enhanced domestic investment in re-invigorating the health systems around PHC values.

The growth in GDP – admittedly vulnerable to economic slowdown, food and energy crises and global warming – is fuelling health spending throughout the world, with the notable exception of fragile states. Harnessing this economic growth would offer opportunities to effectuate necessary PHC reforms that were unavailable during the 1980s and 1990s. Only a fraction of health spending currently goes to correcting common distortions in the way health systems function or to overcoming system bottlenecks that constrain service delivery, but the potential is there and is growing fast.

Global solidarity – and aid – will remain important to supplement and suppport countries making slow progress, but it will become less important per se than exchange, joint learning and global governance. This transition has already taken place in most of the world: most developing countries are

not

aid-dependent. International cooperation can accelerate the conversion of the world’s health systems, including through better channelling of aid, but real progress will come from better health governance in countries – low- and high-income alike.

The health authorities and political leaders are ill at ease with current trends in the development of health systems and with the obvious need to adapt to the changing health challenges, demands and rising expectations. This is shaping the current opportunity to implement PHC reforms. People’s frustration and pressure for different, more equitable health care and for better health protection for society is building up: never before have expectations been so high about what health authorities and, specifi cally, ministries of health should be doing about this.

By capitalizing on this momentum, investment in PHC reforms can accelerate the transformation of health systems so as to yield better and more equitably distributed health outcomes. The world has better technology and better information to allow it to maximize the return on transforming the functioning of health systems. Growing civil society involvement in health and scale-effi cient collective global thinking (for example, in essential drugs) further contributes to the chances of success.

During the last decade, the global community started to deal with poverty and inequality across the world in a much more systematic way

– by setting the MDGs and bringing the issue of inequality to the core of social policy-making.

Throughout, health has been a central, closely interlinked concern. This offers opportunities for more effective health action. It also creates the necessary social conditions for the establishment of close alliances beyond the health sector. Thus, xix

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2008

Primary Health Care – Now More Than Ever

intersectoral action is back on centre stage. Many among today’s health authorities no longer see their responsibility for health as being limited to survival and disease control, but as one of the key capabilities people and societies value

31

.

The legitimacy of health authorities increasingly depends on how well they assume responsibility to develop and reform the health sector according to what people value – in terms of health and of what is expected of health systems in society.

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xx

The challenges

of a changing world

h e c o n t teeee m p or

r

a a y

s w o r l d .

s h o w s h o w m a c

u

n

Chapter 1

Unequal growth, unequal outcomes

Adapting to new health challenges

Trends that undermine the health systems’ response

Changing values and rising expectations

PHC reforms: driven by demand

2

7

11

14

18

1

2

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2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

The chapter argues that, in general, the response of the health sector and societies to these challenges has been slow and inadequate.

This refl ects both an inability to mobilize the requisite resources and institutions to transform health around the values of primary health care as well as a failure to either counter or substantially modify forces that pull the health sector in other directions, namely: a disproportionate focus on specialist hospital care; fragmentation of health systems; and the proliferation of unregulated commercial care. Ironically, these powerful trends lead health systems away from what people expect from health and health care. When the Declaration of Alma-Ata enshrined the principles of health equity, people-centred care and a central role for communities in health action, they were considered radical. Social research suggests, however, that these values are becoming mainstream in modernizing societies: they correspond to the way people look at health and what they expect from their health systems.

Rising social expectations regarding health and health care, therefore, must be seen as a major driver of PHC reforms.

The under-fi ve mortality rate has dropped by a staggering 94%

3

.

In each region (except in the African region) there are countries where mortality rates are now less than one fi fth of what they were 30 years ago. Leading examples are Chile

4

, Malaysia

5

,

Portugal

6

and Thailand

7

(Figure 1.1). These results were associated with improved access to expanded health-care networks, made possible by sustained political commitment and by economic growth that allowed them to back up their commitment by maintaining investment in the health sector (Box 1.1).

Figure 1.1

150

100

50

Selected best performing countries in reducing under-five mortality by at least 80%, by regions, 1975–2006 a, *

Deaths per 1000 children under five 1975

0

Oman

(THE 2006:

I$ 382) b

Portugal

(THE 2006:

I$ 2080) b

Chile

(THE 2006:

I$ 697) b

Malaysia

(THE 2006:

I$ 500) b a b

No country in the African region achieved an 80% reduction.

Total health expenditure per capita 2006, international $.

* International dollars are derived by dividing local currency units by an estimate of their purchasing power parity compared to the US dollar.

2006

Thailand

(THE 2006:

I$ 346) b

Unequal growth, unequal outcomes

Longer lives and better health, but not everywhere

In the late 1970s, the Sultanate of Oman had only a handful of health professionals. People had to travel up to four days just to reach a hospital, where hundreds of patients would already be waiting in line to see one of the few (expatriate) doctors. All this changed in less than a generation

1

. Oman invested consistently in a national health service and sustained that investment over time. There is now a dense network of 180 local, district and regional health facilities staffed by over 5000 health workers providing almost universal access to health care for Oman’s 2.2 million citizens, with coverage now being extended to foreign residents

2

. Over 98% of births in Oman are now attended by trained personnel and over 98% of infants are fully immunized. Life expectancy at birth, which was less than 60 years towards the end of the 1970s, now surpasses 74 years.

Overall, progress in the world has been considerable. If children were still dying at 1978 rates, there would have been 16.2 million deaths globally in 2006. In fact, there were only 9.5 million such deaths

12

. This difference of 6.7 million is equivalent to 18 329 children’s lives being saved every day.

But these fi gures mask signifi cant variations across countries. Since 1975, the rate of decline in under-fi ve mortality rates has been much slower in low-income countries as a whole than in the richer countries

13

. Apart from Eritrea and Mongolia, none of today’s low-income countries has reduced under-fi ve mortality by as much as 70%.

The countries that make up today’s middle-income countries have done better, but, as Figure 1.3 illustrates, progress has been quite uneven.

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

Box 1.1

Economic development and investment choices in health care: the improvement of key health indicators in Portugal

Portugal recognized the right to health in its 1976 Constitution, following its democratic revolution. Political pressure to reduce large health inequalities within the country led to the creation of a national health system, funded by taxation and complemented by public and private insurance schemes and out-of-pocket payments

8,9

. The system was fully established between 1979 and 1983 and explicitly organized around PHC principles: a network of health centres staffed by family physicians and nurses progressively covered the entire country. Eligibility for benefi ts under the national health system requires patients to register with a family physician in a

Figure 1.2

Factors explaning mortality reduction in Portugal, 1960–2008 health centre as the fi rst point of contact. Portugal considers this network to be its greatest success in terms of improved access to care and health gains

6

.

Relative weight of factors (%)

Growth in GDP per capita (constant prices)

Development of primary care networks (primary care physicians and nurses per inhabitant)

Life expectancy at birth is now 9.2 years more than it was 30 years ago, while the GDP per capita has doubled. Portugal’s performance in reducing mortality in various age groups has been among the world’s most consistently successful over the last 30 years, for example halving infant mortality rates every eight years. This performance has led to a marked convergence of the health of Portugal’s population with that of other countries in the region

10

.

100

80

60

Development of hospital networks (hospital physicians and nurses per inhabitant)

Multivariate analysis of the time series of the various mortality indices since 1960 shows that the decision to base Portugal’s health policy on PHC principles, with the development of a network of comprehensive primary care services

11

, has played a major role in the reduction of maternal and child mortality, whereas the reduction of perinatal mortality was linked to the development of the hospital network. The relative roles of the development of primary care, hospital networks and economic growth to the improvement of mortality indices since 1960 are shown in Figure 1.2.

40

20

0

71% reduction of perinatal mortality

86% reduction of infant mortality

89% reduction in child mortality

96% reduction in maternal mortality

Some countries have made great improvements and are on track to achieve the health-related

MDGs. Others, particularly in the African region, have stagnated or even lost ground

14

. Globally,

20 of the 25 countries where under-fi ve mortality is still two thirds or more of the 1975 level

Figure 1.3 Variable progress in reducing under-five mortality, 1975 and 2006, in selected countries with similar rates in 1975 a

Deaths per 1000 children under five 1975

2006

150

100

50

0

Oman

(THE 2006:

I$ 382) a

Mongolia

(THE 2006:

I$ 149) a

Morocco

(THE 2006:

I$ 273) a

Tajikistan

(THE 2006:

I$ 71) a a

Total health expenditure per capita 2006, international $.

India

(THE 2006:

I$ 109) a

Madagascar

(THE 2006:

I$ 35) a

Zambia

(THE 2006:

I$ 62) a are in sub-Saharan Africa. Slow progress has been associated with disappointing advances in access to health care. Despite recent change for the better, vaccination coverage in sub-Saharan

Africa is still signifi cantly lower than in the rest of the world

14

. Current contraceptive prevalence remains as low as 21%, while in other developing regions increases have been substantial over the past 30 years and now reach 61%

15,16

.

Increased contraceptive use has been accompanied by decreased abortion rates everywhere. In sub-

Saharan Africa, however, the absolute numbers of abortions has increased, and almost all are being performed in unsafe conditions

17

. Childbirth care for mothers and newborns also continues to face problems: in 33 countries, less than half of all births each year are attended by skilled health personnel, with coverage in one country as low as

6%

14

. Sub-Saharan Africa is also the only region

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Figure 1.4

GDP per capita and life expectancy at birth in 169 countries a

,

1975 and 2005

Life expectancy at birth (years)

85

2005

75

65 in the world where access to qualifi ed providers at childbirth is not progressing

18

.

Mirroring the overall trends in child survival, global trends in life expectancy point to a rise throughout the world of almost eight years between 1950 and 1978, and seven more years since: a refl ection of the growth in average income per capita. As with child survival, widening income inequality (income increases faster in high-income than in low-income countries) is refl ected in increasing disparities between the least and most healthy

19

. Between the mid-

1970s and 2005, the difference in life expectancy between high-income countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa, or fragile states, has widened by 3.8 and 2.1 years, respectively.

The unmistakable relation between health and wealth, summarized in the classic Preston curve

(Figure 1.4), needs to be qualifi ed

20

.

Firstly, the Preston curve continues to shift

12

.

An income per capita of I$ 1000 in 1975 was associated with a life expectancy of 48.8 years.

In 2005, it was almost four years higher for the same income. This suggests that improvements in nutrition, education

21

, health technologies

22

, the institutional capacity to obtain and use information, and in society’s ability to translate this knowledge into effective health and social action

23

, allow for greater production of health for the same level of wealth.

1975

55

Namibia

South Africa

45

Botswana

Swaziland

35

0 5000 10 000 15 000 20 000 25 000 30 000

GDP per capita, constant 2000 international $ a

Only outlying countries are named.

35 000 40 000

Secondly, there is considerable variation in achievement across countries with the same income, particularly among poorer countries. For example, life expectancy in Côte d’Ivoire (GDP I$

1465) is nearly 17 years lower than in Nepal (GDP

I$ 1379), and between Madagascar and Zambia, the difference is 18 years. The presence of high performers in each income band shows that the actual level of income per capita at a given moment is not the absolute rate limiting factor the average curve seems to imply.

Growth and stagnation

Over the last 30 years the relation between economic growth and life expectancy at birth has shown three distinct patterns (Figure 1.5).

In 1978, about two thirds of the world’s population lived in countries that went on to experience increases in life expectancy at birth and considerable economic growth. The most impressive relative gains were in a number of low-income countries in Asia (including India), Latin America and northern Africa, totalling 1.1 billion inhabitants

30 years ago and nearly 2 billion today. These countries increased life expectancy at birth by

12 years, while GDP per capita was multiplied by a factor of 2.6. High-income countries and countries with a GDP between I$ 3000 and I$ 10 000 in 1975 also saw substantial economic growth and increased life expectancy.

In other parts of the world, GDP growth was not accompanied by similar gains in life expectancy. The Russian Federation and Newly Independent States increased average GDP per capita substantially, but, with the widespread poverty that accompanied the transition from the former

Soviet Union, women’s life expectancy stagnated from the late 1980s and men’s plummeted, particularly for those lacking education and job security

24,25

. After a period of technological and organizational stagnation, the health system collapsed

12

. Public expenditure on health declined in the 1990s to levels that made running a basic system virtually impossible in several countries.

Unhealthy lifestyles, combined with the disintegration of public health programmes, and the unregulated commercialization of clinical services combined with the elimination of safety nets has offset any gains from the increase in average GDP

26

. China had already increased its

4

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

Figure 1.5

Trends in GDP per capita and life expectancy at birth in 133 countries grouped by the 1975 GDP, 1975–2005*

Life expectancy (years)

80

75

China h

Middle-income countries b

High-income countries a

70

65

India

Low-income coutries d c

Russian Federation and NIS g

60

55

50

Fragile states e

Low-income African countries f

45

0

1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10 000

20 000 25 000 30 000 a

27 countries, 766 million (M) inhabitants in 1975, 953 M in 2005.

b

43 countries, 587 M inhabitants in 1975, 986 M in 2005 .

c

India, 621 M inhabitants in 1975, 1 103 M in 2005.

d

17 Low-income countries, non-African, fragile states excluded, 471 M inhabitants in 1975, 872 M in 2005.

e

20 Fragile states, 169 M inhabitants in 1975, 374 M in 2005.

f

13 Low-income African countries, fragile states excluded, 71 M inhabitants in 1975, 872 M in 2005.

g

Russian Federation and 10 Newly Independent States (NIS), 186 M inhabitants in 1985, 204 M in 2005.

h

China, 928 M inhabitants in 1975, 1 316 M in 2005.

* No data for 1975 for the Newly Independant States. No historical data for the remaining countries.

Sources: Life expectancy, 1975, 1985: UN World Population Prospects 2006; 1995, 2005: WHO, 9 November 2008 (draft); China: 3rd, 4th and 5th National Population censuses, 1981, 1990 and 2000. GPD: 2007

37

.

life expectancy substantially in the period before

1980 to levels far above that of other low-income countries in the 1970s, despite the 1961–1963 famine and the 1966–1976 Cultural Revolution.

The contribution of rural primary care and urban health insurance to this has been well documented

27,28

. With the economic reforms of the early 1980s, however, average GDP per capita increased spectacularly, but access to care and social protection deteriorated, particularly in rural areas. This slowed down improvements to a modest rate, suggesting that only the improved living conditions associated with the spectacular economic growth avoided a regression of average life expectancy

29

.

Finally, there is a set of low-income countries, representing roughly 10% of the world’s population, where both GDP and life expectancy stagnated

30

. These are the countries that are considered as “fragile states” according to the

“low-income countries under stress” (LICUS) criteria for 2003–2006

31

. As much as 66% of the population in these countries is in Africa. Poor governance and extended internal confl icts are common among these countries, which all face similar hurdles: weak security, fractured societal relations, corruption, breakdown in the rule of law, and lack of mechanisms for generating legitimate power and authority

32

. They have a huge backlog of investment needs and limited government resources to meet them. Half of them experienced negative GDP growth during the period 1995–2004 (all the others remained below the average growth of low-income countries), while their external debt was above average

33

. These countries were among those with the lowest life expectancy at birth in 1975 and have experienced minimal increases since then.

The other low-income African countries share many of the characteristics and circumstances of the fragile states – in fact many of them have suffered protracted periods of confl ict over the last 30 years that would have classifi ed them as fragile states had the LICUS classifi cation existed at that time. Their economic growth has been very limited, as has been their life-expectancy gain, not least because of the presence, in this group, of a number of southern African countries that are disproportionally confronted by the HIV/

AIDS pandemic. On average, the latter have seen some economic growth since 1975, but a marked reversal in terms of life expectancy.

What has been strikingly common to fragile states and sub-Saharan African countries for

5

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much of the last three decades, and differentiates them from the others that started out with less than I$ 3000 per capita in 1975, is the combination of stagnating economic growth, political instability and lack of progress in life expectancy. They accumulate characteristics that hamper improvement of health. Education, particularly of females, develops more slowly, as does access to modern communications and knowledge-intensive work that broadens people’s intellectual resources elsewhere. People are more exposed and more vulnerable to environmental and other health threats that, in today’s globalized world, include lifestyle threats, such as smoking, obesity and urban violence. They lack the material security required to invest in their own health and their governments lack the necessary resources and/or commitment to public investment. They are at much greater risk of war and civil confl ict than richer countries

30

.

Without growth, peace is considerably more diffi cult and without peace, growth stagnates: on average, a civil war reduces a country’s growth by around 2.3% per year for a typical duration of seven years, leaving it 15% poorer

34

.

The impact of the combination of stagnation and confl icts cannot be overstated. Confl icts are a direct source of considerable excessive suffering, disease and mortality. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, the 1998–2004 confl ict caused an excess mortality of 450 000 deaths per year

35

. Any strategy to close the health gaps between countries – and to correct inequalities within countries – has to give consideration to the creation of an environment of peace, stability and prosperity that allows for investment in the health sector.

A history of poor economic growth is also a history of stagnating resources for health. What

Box 1.2

Higher spending on health is associated with better outcomes, but with large differences between countries

In many countries, the total amount spent on health is insuffi cient to fi nance access for all to even a very limited package of essential health care

39

. This is bound to make a difference to health and survival. Figure 1.6 shows that Kenya has a health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE) of 44.4 years, the median for countries that currently spend less than I$ 100 per capita on health. This is 27 years less than Germany, the median for countries that spend more than I$ 2500 per capita. Every I$ 100 per capita spent on heath corresponds to a

1.1-year gain in HALE.

Figure 1.6

spending band are comparatively small. Tajikistan, for example, has a HALE that is 4.3 years less than that of Sweden – less than the difference between Sweden and the United States. These differences suggest that how, for what and for whom money is spent matters considerably. Particularly in countries where the envelope for health is very small, every dollar that is allocated sub-optimally seems to make a disproportionate difference.

Countries grouped according to their total health expenditure in 2005 (international $)

38,40

However, this masks large differences in outcomes at comparable levels of spending.

There are up to fi ve years difference in HALE between countries that spend more than

I$ 2500 per capita per year on health. The spread is wider at lower expenditure levels, even within rather narrow spending bands.

Inhabitants of Moldova, for example, enjoy 24 more HALE years than those of Haiti, yet they are both among the 28 countries that spend I$

250–500 per capita on health. These gaps can even be wider if one also considers countries that are heavily affected by HIV/AIDS. Lesotho spends more on health than Jamaica, yet its people have a HALE that is 34 years shorter.

In contrast, the differences in HALE between the countries with the best outcomes in each

HALE (years)

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

Tajikistan

Kenya

Sierra Leone

THE < I$ 100

(30)

Moldova

Phillippines

Haiti

Lesotho

THE I$ 100–250

(28)

Panama

Saint Vincent and the

Grenadines

Gabon

Swaziland

THE I$ 250–500

(30)

Finland

Colombia

Iran

Botswana

THE I$ 500–1000

(23)

THE I$ 1000–2500

(16)

Total health expenditure (no. of countries)

Japan

United Kingdom /

New Zealand

Hungary

Sweden

Germany

USA

Highest

Median

Lowest

Outliers

THE > I$ 2500

(15)

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

happened in sub-Saharan Africa during the years following Alma-Ata exemplifi es this predicament.

After adjusting for infl ation, GDP per capita in sub-Saharan Africa fell in most years from 1980–

1994

36

, leaving little room to expand access to health care or transform health systems. By the early 1980s, for example, the medicines budget in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then

Zaïre, was reduced to zero and government disbursements to health districts dropped below

US$ 0.1 per inhabitant; Zambia’s public sector health budget was cut by two thirds; and funds available for operating expenses and salaries for the expanding government workforce dropped by up to 70% in countries such as Cameroon, Ghana,

Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania

36

. For health authorities in this part of the world, the

1980s and 1990s were a time of managing shrinking government budgets and disinvestment. For the people, this period of fi scal contraction was a time of crippling out-of-pocket payments for under-funded and inadequate health services.

In much of the world, the health sector is often massively under-funded. In 2005, 45 countries spent less than I$ 100 per capita on health, including external assistance

38

. In contrast, 16 high-income countries spent more than I$ 3000 per capita. Lowincome countries generally allocate a smaller proportion of their GDP to health than high-income countries, while their GDP is smaller to start with and they have higher disease burdens.

Higher health expenditure is associated with better health outcomes, but sensitive to policy choices and context (Box 1.2): where money is scarce, the effects of errors, by omission and by commission, are amplifi ed. Where expenditure increases rapidly, however, this offers perspectives for transforming and adapting health systems which are much more limited in a context of stagnation.

40

Many of the changes that affect health were already under way in 1978, but they have accelerated and will continue to do so.

Thirty years ago, some 38% of the world’s population lived in cities; in 2008, it is more than

50%, 3.3 billion people. By 2030, almost 5 billion people will live in urban areas. Most of the growth will be in the smaller cities of developing countries and metropolises of unprecedented size and complexity in southern and eastern Asia

42

.

Although on average health indicators in cities score better than in rural areas, the enormous social and economic stratification within urban areas results in signifi cant health inequities

43,44,45,46

. In the high-income area of Nairobi, the under-fi ve mortality rate is below 15 per thousand, but in the Emabakasi slum of the same city the rate is 254 per thousand

47

. These and other similar examples lead to the more general observation that within developing countries, the best local governance can help produce

75 years or more of life expectancy; with poor urban governance, life expectancy can be as low as 35 years

48

. One third of the urban population today – over one billion people – lives in slums: in places that lack durable housing, suffi cient living area, access to clean water and sanitation, and secure tenure

49

. Slums are prone to fi re, fl oods and landslides; their inhabitants are disproportionately exposed to pollution, accidents, workplace hazards and urban violence. Loss of social

Figure 1.7

Africa’s children are at more risk of dying from traffic accidents than

European children: child road-traffic deaths per 100 000 population

41

50

Africa Europe, low- and middle-income countries Europe, high-income countries

30

Adapting to new health challenges

A globalized, urbanized and ageing world

The world has changed over the last 30 years: few would have imagined that children in Africa would now be at far more risk of dying from traffi c accidents than in either the high- or the low- and middle-income countries of the European region (Figure 1.7).

20

10

0

0–4 5–9 10–14 15–19

7

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8 cohesion and globalization of unhealthy lifestyles contribute to an environment that is decidedly unfavourable for health.

These cities are where many of the world’s nearly 200 million international migrants are found

50

. They constitute at least 20% of the population in 41 countries, 31% of which have less than a million inhabitants. Excluding migrants from access to care is the equivalent of denying all the inhabitants of a country similar to Brazil their rights to health. Some of the countries that have made very signifi cant strides towards ensuring access to care for their citizens fail to offer the same rights to other residents. As migration continues to gain momentum, the entitlements of non-citizen residents and the ability of the healthcare system to deal with growing linguistic and cultural diversity in equitable and effective ways are no longer marginal issues.

This mobile and urbanized world is ageing fast and will continue to do so. By 2050, the world will count 2 billion people over the age of 60, around

85% of whom will be living in today’s developing countries, mostly in urban areas. Contrary to today’s rich countries, low- and middle-income countries are ageing fast before having become rich, adding to the challenge.

Urbanization, ageing and globalized lifestyle changes combine to make chronic and noncommunicable diseases – including depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers – and injuries increasingly important causes of morbidity and mortality (Figure 1.8)

51

. There is a striking shift in distribution of death and disease from younger to older ages and from infectious, perinatal and maternal causes to noncommunicable diseases. Traffi c accident rates will increase; tobacco-related deaths will overtake HIV/AIDSrelated deaths. Even in Africa, where the population remains younger, smoking, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol are among the top 10 risk factors in terms of overall disease burden

52

. In the last few decades, much of the lack of progress and virtually all reversals in life expectancy were associated with adult health crises, such as in the

Russian Federation or southern Africa. Improved health in the future will increasingly be a question of better adult health.

Ageing has drawn attention to an issue that is of particular relevance to the organization of service delivery: the increasing frequency of multimorbidity. In the industrialized world, as many as 25% of 65–69 year olds and 50% of 80–84 year olds are affected by two or more chronic health conditions simultaneously. In socially deprived populations, children and younger adults are also likely to be affected

53,54,55

.

The frequency of multi-morbidity in low-income countries is less well described except in the context of the HIV/

AIDS epidemic, malnutrition or malaria, but it is probably greatly underestimated

56,57

. As diseases of poverty are inter-related, sharing causes that

Figure 1.8

The shift towards noncommunicable diseases and accidents as causes of death*

Deaths (millions)

35

30

25

20

15

Road-traffic accidents

Cerebrovascular diseases

Ischaemic heart diseases

Cancers

Perinatal causes

Acute respiratory infections

Diarrhoeal diseases

Malaria

HIV/AIDS

Tuberculosis

10

5

0

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030

* Selected causes.

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

are multiple and act together to produce greater disability and ill health, multi-morbidity is probably more rather than less frequent in poor countries. Addressing co-morbidity – including mental health problems, addictions and violence – emphasizes the importance of dealing with the person as a whole. This is as important in developing countries as in the industrialized world

58

.

It is insuffi ciently appreciated that the shift to chronic diseases or adult health has to come on top of an unfi nished agenda related to communicable diseases, and maternal, newborn and child health. Efforts directed at the latter, especially in the poorest countries where coverage is still insuffi cient, will have to expand

12

. But all health systems, including those in the poorest countries, will also have to deal with the expanding need and demand for care for chronic and noncommunicable diseases: this is not possible without much more attention being paid to establishing a continuum of comprehensive care than is the case today. It is equally impossible without much more attention being paid to addressing the pervasive health inequalities within each country (Box 1.3).

Little anticipation and slow reactions

Over the past few decades, health authorities have shown little evidence of their ability to anticipate such changes, prepare for them or even adapt to them when they have become an everyday reality. This is worrying because the rate of change is accelerating. Globalization, urbanization and ageing will be compounded by the health effects of other global phenomena, such as climate change, the impact of which is expected to be greatest among the most vulnerable communities living in the poorest countries. Precisely how these will affect health in the coming years is more diffi cult to predict, but rapid changes in disease burden, growing health inequalities and disruption of social cohesion and health sector resilience are to be expected. The current food crisis has shown how unprepared health authorities often are for changes in the broader environment, even after other sectors have been sounding the alarm bell for quite some time. All too often, the accelerated pace and the global scale of the changes in the challenges to health is in contrast with the sluggish response of national health systems.

Even for well-known and documented trends, such as those resulting from the demographic and epidemiologic transitions, the level of response often remains inadequate

64

. Data from WHO’s

World Health Surveys, covering 18 low-income countries, show low coverage of the treatment of asthma, arthritis, angina, diabetes and depression, and of the screening for cervical and breast cancer: less than 15% in the lowest income quintile and less than 25% in the highest

65

. Public-health interventions to remove the major risk factors of disease are often neglected, even when they are particularly cost effective: they have the potential to reduce premature deaths by 47% and increase global healthy life expectancy by 9.3 years

64,66

.

For example, premature tobacco-attributable deaths from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other diseases are projected to rise from 5.4 million in 2004 to 8.3 million in 2030, almost 10% of all deaths worldwide

67

, with more than 80% in developing countries

12

.

Yet, two out of every three countries are still without, or only have minimal, tobacco control policies

12

.

With a few exceptions – the SARS epidemic, for example – the health sector has often been slow in dealing with new or previously underestimated health challenges. For example, awareness of the emerging health threats posed by climate change and environmental hazards dates back at least to the 1990 Earth Summit

68

, but only in recent years have these begun to be translated into plans and strategies

69,70

.

Health authorities have also often failed to assess, in a timely way, the signifi cance of changes in their political environment that affect the sector’s response capacity. Global and national policy environments have often taken health issues into consideration, initiating hasty and disruptive interventions, such as structural adjustment, decentralization, blueprint poverty reduction strategies, insensitive trade policies, new tax regimes, fi scal policies and the withdrawal of the state. Health authorities have a poor track record in infl uencing such developments, and have been ineffective in leveraging the economic weight of the health sector. Many of the critical systems issues affecting health require skills and competencies that are not found within the medical/public health establishment. The failure

9

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Primary Health Care –

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Box 1.3

As information improves, the multiple dimensions of growing health inequality are becoming more apparent

In recent years, the extent of within-country disparities in vulnerability, access to care and health outcomes has been described in much greater detail (Figure 1.9)

59

. Better information shows that health inequalities tend to increase, thereby highlighting how inadequate and uneven health systems have been in responding to people’s health needs. Despite the recent emphasis on poverty reduction, health systems continue to have diffi culty in reaching both the rural and the urban poor, let alone addressing the multiple causes and consequences of health inequity.

Figure 1.9

Within-country inequalities in health and health care

6

Per capita household spending on health as percentage of total household spending, by income group

50

Mean time (minutes) taken to reach an ambulatory health facility, by income group

5

40

4

30

3

20

2

10

1

0

Côte d’Ivoire

1988

Ghana

1992

100

Women using malaria prophylaxis (%), by income group

Madagascar

1993–4

Lowest quintile Quintile 2 Quintile 3

0

Quintile 4

Bosnia and Herzegovina

2003–4

Highest quintile

Comoros

2003–4

100

Full basic immunization coverage (%), by income group

Ecuador

2003–4

80 80

60

40

20

0

Guinea

2005

100

Neonatal mortality rate, by education of mother

80

Malawi

2004

60

40

20

Niger

2006

Tanzania

2004

Lowest quintile Quintile 2 Quintile 3

0

Quintile 4

Bangladesh

2004

Highest quintile

Colombia

2005

Indonesia

2002–3

100

Births attended by health professional (%), by education of mother

Mozambique

2003

80

60

40

20

0

Bolivia

2003

Sources: (

60, 61, 62, 63

).

Colombia

2005

Lesotho

2003

60

40

20

Nepal

2006

Philippines

2003

No education Primary education

0

Benin

2001

Bolivia

2003

Secondary or higher education

Botswana

1998

Cambodia

2005

Peru

2000

10

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

to recognize the need for expertise from beyond traditional health disciplines has condemned the health sector to unusually high levels of systems incompetence and ineffi ciency which society can ill afford.

Trends that undermine the health systems’ response

Without strong policies and leadership, health systems do not spontaneously gravitate towards

PHC values or effi ciently respond to evolving health challenges. As most health leaders know, health systems are subject to powerful forces and infl uences that often override rational priority setting or policy formation, thereby pulling health systems away from their intended directions

71

.

Characteristic trends that shape conventional health systems today include (Figure 1.10):

Q a disproportionate focus on specialist, tertiary care, often referred to as “hospital-centrism”;

Q

Q fragmentation, as a result of the multiplication of programmes and projects; and the pervasive commercialization of health care in unregulated health systems.

With their focus on cost containment and deregulation, many of the health-sector reforms of the 1980s and 1990s have reinforced these trends. High-income countries have often been able to regulate to contain some of the adverse consequences of these trends. However, in countries where under-funding compounds

Figure 1.10

How health systems are diverted from PHC core values

Health

systems

Current trends

Hospital-centrism

Health equity

Universal access to

people-centred care

Commercialization

Fragmentation

Healthy communities

limited regulatory capacity, they have had more damaging effects.

Hospital-centrism: health systems built around hospitals and specialists

For much of the 20th century, hospitals, with their technology and sub-specialists, have gained a pivotal role in most health systems throughout the world

72,73

.

Today, the disproportionate focus on hospitals and sub-specialization has become a major source of ineffi ciency and inequality, and one that has proved remarkably resilient. Health authorities may voice their concern more insistently than they used to, but sub-specialization continues to prevail

74

. For example, in Member countries of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the 35% growth in the number of doctors in the last 15 years was driven by rising numbers of specialists (up by nearly 50% between 1990 and 2005

– compared with only a 20% increase in general practitioners)

75

. In Thailand, less than 20% of doctors were specialists 30 years ago; by 2003 they represented 70%

76

.

The forces driving this growth include professional traditions and interests as well as the considerable economic weight of the health industry – technology and pharmaceuticals (Box 1.4).

Obviously, well functioning specialized tertiary care responds to a real demand (albeit, at least in part, induced): it is necessary, at the very least, for the political credibility of the health system.

However, the experience of industrialized countries has shown that a disproportionate focus on specialist, tertiary care provides poor value for money

72

. Hospital-centrism carries a considerable cost in terms of unnecessary medicalization and iatrogenesis

77

, and compromises the human and social dimensions of health

73,78

. It also carries an opportunity cost: Lebanon, for example, counts more cardiac surgery units per inhabitant than

Germany, but lacks programmes aimed at reducing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease

79

.

Ineffi cient ways of dealing with health problems are thus crowding out more effective, effi cient – and more equitable

80

– ways of organizing health care and improving health

81

.

Since the 1980s, a majority of OECD countries has been trying to decrease reliance on hospitals,

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Primary Health Care –

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Box 1.4

Medical equipment and pharmaceutical industries are major economic forces

Global expenditure on medical equipment and devices has grown from US$ 145 billion in 1998 to US$ 220 billion in 2006: the United States accounts for 39% of the total, the European

Union for 27%, and Japan for 16%

90

. The industry employs more than 411 400 workers in the United States alone, occupying nearly one third of all the country’s bioscience jobs

91

. In

2006, the United States, the European Union and Japan spent

US$ 287, US$ 250 and US$ 273 per capita, respectively, on medical equipment. In the rest of the world, the average of such expenditure is in the order of US$ 6 per capita, and in sub-Saharan Africa – a market with much potential for expansion – it is US$ 2.5 per capita. The annual growth rate of the equipment market is over 10% a year

92

.

The pharmaceutical industry weighs even more heavily in the global economy, with global pharmaceutical sales expected to expand to US$ 735–745 billion in 2008, with a growth rate of 6–7%

93

. Here, too, the United States is the world’s largest market, accounting for around 48% of the world total: per capita expenditure on drugs was US$ 1141 in 2005, twice the level of Canada, Germany or the United Kingdom, and 10 times that of Mexico

94

.

Specialized and hospital care is vital to these industries, which depend on pre-payment and risk pooling for sustainable funding of their expansion. While this market grows everywhere, there are large differences from country to country. For example, Japan and the United States have 5–8 times more magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units per million inhabitants than Canada and the Netherlands. For computerized tomography (CT) scanners, the differences are even more pronounced: Japan had 92.6 per million in 2002, the Netherlands 5.8 in 2005

95

. These differences show that the market can be infl uenced, principally by using appropriate payment and reimbursement incentives and by careful consideration of the organization of regulatory control

96

.

specialists and technologies, and keep costs under control. They have done this by introducing supply-side measures including reduction of hospital beds, substitution of hospitalization by home care, rationing of medical equipment, and a multitude of fi nancial incentives and disincentives to promote micro-level effi ciency. The results of these efforts have been mixed, but the evolving technology is accelerating the shift from specialized hospital to primary care. In many highincome countries (but not all), the PHC efforts of the 1980s and 1990s have been able to reach a better balance between specialized curative care, fi rst contact care and health promotion

81

.

Over the last 30 years, this has contributed to signifi cant improvements in health outcomes

81,82

.

More recently, middle-income countries, such as

Chile with its

Atención Primaria de Salud

(Primary Health Care)

83

, Brazil with its family health initiative and Thailand under its universal coverage scheme

84

have shifted the balance between specialized hospital and primary care in the same way

85

. The initial results are encouraging: improvement of outcome indicators

86

combined with a marked improvement in patient satisfaction

87

. In each of these cases, the shift took place as part of a move towards universal coverage, with expanded citizen’s rights to access and social protection. These processes are very similar to what occurred in Malaysia and Portugal: right to access, social protection, and a better balance between reliance on hospitals and on generalist primary care, including prevention and health promotion

6

.

Industrialized countries are, 50 years later, trying to reduce their reliance on hospitals, having realized the opportunity cost of hospitalcentrism in terms of effectiveness and equity.

Yet, many low- and middle-income countries are creating the same distortions. The pressure from consumer demand, the medical professions and the medico-industrial complex

88

is such that private

and

public health resources fl ow disproportionately towards specialized hospital care at the expense of investment in primary care.

National health authorities have often lacked the fi nancial and political clout to curb this trend and achieve a better balance. Donors have also used their infl uence more towards setting up disease control programmes than towards reforms that would make primary care the hub of the health system

89

.

Fragmentation: health systems built around priority programmes

While urban health by and large revolves around hospitals, the rural poor are increasingly confronted with the progressive fragmentation of their health services, as “selective” or “vertical” approaches focus on individual disease control programmes and projects. Originally considered

12

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

as an interim strategy to achieve equitable health outcomes, they sprang from a concern for the slow expansion of access to health care in a context of persistent severe excess mortality and morbidity for which cost-effective interventions exist

97

. A focus on programmes and projects is particularly attractive to an international community concerned with getting a visible return on investment. It is well adapted to commandand-control management: a way of working that also appeals to traditional ministries of health.

With little tradition of collaboration with other stakeholders and participation of the public, and with poor capacity for regulation, programmatic approaches have been a natural channel for developing governmental action in severely resourceconstrained and donor-dependent countries. They have had the merit of focusing on health care in severely resource-constrained circumstances, with welcome attention to reaching the poorest and those most deprived of services.

Many have hoped that single-disease control initiatives would maximize return on investment and somehow strengthen health systems as interventions were delivered to large numbers of people, or would be the entry point to start building health systems where none existed.

Often the opposite has proved true. The limited sustainability of a narrow focus on disease control, and the distortions it causes in weak and under-funded health systems have been criticized extensively in recent years

98

. Short-term advances have been short-lived and have fragmented health services to a degree that is now of major concern to health authorities. With parallel chains of command and funding mechanisms, duplicated supervision and training schemes, and multiplied transaction costs, they have led to situations where programmes compete for scarce resources, staff and donor attention, while the structural problems of health systems – funding, payment and human resources − are hardly addressed. The discrepancy in salaries between regular public sector jobs and better-funded programmes and projects has exacerbated the human resource crisis in fragile health systems.

In Ethiopia, contract staff hired to help implement programmes were paid three times more than regular government employees

99

, while in

Malawi, a hospital saw 88 nurses leave for better paid nongovernmental organization (NGO) programmes in an 18-month period

100

.

Eventually, service delivery ends up dealing only with the diseases for which a (funded) programme exists – overlooking people who have the misfortune not to fi t in with current programme priorities. It is diffi cult to maintain the people’s trust if they are considered as mere programme targets: services then lack social sustainability.

This is not just a problem for the population. It puts health workers in the unenviable position of having to turn down people with “the wrong kind of problem” – something that fi ts ill with the selfimage of professionalism and caring many cherish. Health authorities may at fi rst be seduced by the straightforwardness of programme funding and management, yet once programmes multiply and fragmentation becomes unmanageable and unsustainable, the merits of more integrated approaches are much more evident. The re-integration of programmes once they have been well established is no easy task.

Health systems left to drift towards unregulated commercialization

In many, if not most low- and middle-income countries, under-resourcing and fragmentation of health services has accelerated the development of commercialized health care, defi ned here as the unregulated fee-for-service sale of health care, regardless of whether or not it is supplied by public, private or NGO providers.

Commercialization of health care has reached previously unheard of proportions in countries that, by choice or due to a lack of capacity, fail to regulate the health sector. Originally limited to an urban phenomenon, small-scale unregulated fee-for-service health care offered by a multitude of different independent providers now dominates the health-care landscape from sub-Saharan Africa to the transitional economies in Asia or Europe.

Commercialization often cuts across the public-private divide

101

. Health-care delivery in many governmental and even in traditionally not-for-profi t NGO facilities has been de facto commercialized, as informal payment systems and cost-recovery systems have shifted the cost of services to users in an attempt to compensate

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14 for the chronic under-funding of the public health sector and the fi scal stringency of structural adjustment

102,103

. In these same countries, moonlighting civil servants make up a considerable part of the unregulated commercial sector

104

, while others resort to under-the-counter payments

105,106,107

.

The public-private debate of the last decades has, thus, largely missed the point: for the people, the real issue is not whether their health-care provider is a public employee or a private entrepreneur, nor whether health facilities are publicly or privately owned. Rather, it is whether or not health services are reduced to a commodity that can be bought and sold on a feefor-service basis without regulation or consumer protection

108

.

Commercialization has consequences for quality as well as for access to care. The reasons are straightforward: the provider has the knowledge; the patient has little or none. The provider has an interest in selling what is most profi table, but not necessarily what is best for the patient.

Without effective systems of checks and balances, the results can be read in consumer organization reports or newspaper articles that express outrage at the breach of the implicit contract of trust between caregiver and client

109

. Those who cannot afford care are excluded; those who can may not get the care they need, often get care they do not need, and invariably pay too much.

Unregulated commercialized health systems are highly ineffi cient and costly

110

: they exacerbate inequality

111

, and they provide poor quality and, at times, dangerous care that is bad for health (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, “

la chirurgie safari

” (safari surgery) refers to a common practice of health workers moonlighting by performing appendectomies or other surgical interventions at the patients’ homes, often for crippling fees).

Thus, commercialization of health care is an important contributor to the erosion of trust in health services and in the ability of health authorities to protect the public

111

. This is what makes it a matter of concern for politicians and, much more than was the case 30 years ago, one of the main reasons for increasing support for reforms that would bring health systems more in line not only with current health challenges, but also with people’s expectations.

Changing values and rising expectations

The reason why health systems are organized around hospitals or are commercialized is largely because they are supply-driven and also correspond to demand: genuine as well as supplyinduced. Health systems are also a refl ection of a globalizing consumer culture. Yet, at the same time, there are indications that people are aware that such health systems do not provide an adequate response to need and demand, and that they are driven by interests and goals that are disconnected from people’s expectations. As societies modernize and become more affl uent and knowledgeable, what people consider to be desirable ways of living as individuals and as members of societies, i.e. what people value, changes

112

. People tend to regard health services more as a commodity today, but they also have other, rising expectations regarding health and health care. People care more about health as an integral part of how they and their families go about their everyday lives than is commonly thought (Box 1.5)

113

. They expect their families and communities to be protected from risks and dangers to health. They want health care that deals with people as individuals with rights and not as mere targets for programmes or benefi ciaries of charity. They are willing to respect health professionals but want to be respected in turn, in a climate of mutual trust

114

.

People also have expectations about the way their society deals with health and health care.

They aspire to greater health equity and solidarity and are increasingly intolerant of social exclusion – even if individually they may be reluctant to act on these values

115

. They expect health authorities – whether in government or other bodies – to do more to protect their right to health. The social values surveys that have been conducted since the 1980s show increasing convergence in this regard between the values of developing countries and of more affl uent societies, where protection of health and access to care is often taken for granted

112,115,116

. Increasing prosperity, access to knowledge and social connectivity are associated with rising expectations. People want to have more say about what happens in their workplace, in the communities in which they live and also in important government decisions that

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

Box 1.5

Health is among the top personal concerns

0

When people are asked to name the most important problems that they and their families are currently facing, fi nancial worries often come out on top, with health a close second

118

.

In one country out of two, personal illness, health-care costs, poor quality care or other health issues are the top personal concerns of over one third of the population surveyed

(Figure 1.11). It is, therefore, not surprising that a breakdown of the health-care system – or even the hint of a breakdown

– can lead to popular discontent that threatens the ambitions of the politicians seen to be responsible

119

.

Figure 1.11

Percentage of the population citing health as their main concern before other issues, such as financial problems, housing or crime

118

Poland

Ukraine

Russian Federation

Bulgaria

Sweden

Israel

Germany

Italy

Turkey

Spain

Czech Republic

France

Slovakia

United Kingdom

Mexico

Chile

Canada

Peru

Argentina

Brazil

United States

Venezuela

Bolivia

Japan

Republic of Korea

China

Malaysia

10

India

Bangladesh

Indonesia

Egypt

Lebanon

Jordan

Kuwait

Occupied Palestinian Territory

Pakistan

Morocco

Côte d’Ivoire

Senegal

Nigeria

Ghana

South Africa

Kenya

Uganda

Mali

United Republic of Tanzania

20

Ethiopia

30 40 50 60 70 affect their lives

117

. The desire for better care and protection of health, for less health inequity and for participation in decisions that affect health is more widespread and more intense now than it was 30 years ago. Therefore, much more is expected of health authorities today.

Health equity

Equity, whether in health, wealth or power is rarely, if ever, fully achieved. Some societies are more egalitarian than others, but on the whole the world is “unequal”. Value surveys, however, clearly demonstrate that people care about these inequalities – considering a substantial proportion to be unfair “inequities” that can and should be avoided. Data going back to the early 1980s show that people increasingly disagree with the way in which income is distributed and believe that a “just society” should work to correct these imbalances

120,121,122,123

. This gives policymakers less leeway to ignore the social dimensions of their policies than they might have had previously

120,124

.

People are often unaware of the full scope of health inequalities. Most Swedish citizens, for example, were probably unaware that the difference in life expectancy between 20-year-old men from the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups was 3.97 years in 1997: a gap that had widened by 88% compared to 1980

125

. However, while people’s knowledge on these topics may be partial, research shows that people regard social gradients in health as profoundly unjust

126

. Intolerance to inequality in health and to the exclusion of population groups from health benefi ts and social protection mirrors or exceeds intolerance to inequality in income. In most societies, there is wide consensus that everybody should be able to take care of their health and to receive treatment when ill or injured – without being bankrupted and pushed into poverty

127

.

As societies become wealthier, popular support for equitable access to health care and social protection to meet basic health and social needs gains stronger ground. Social surveys show that, in the European region, 93% of the populations support comprehensive health coverage

117

. In the

United States, long reputed for its reluctance to adopt a national health insurance system, more than 80% of the population is in favour of it

115

, while basic care for all continues to be a widely distributed, intensely held, social goal

128

. The attitudes in lower income countries are less well known, but extrapolating from their views on income inequality, it is reasonable to assume that increasing prosperity is coupled with rising concern for health equity – even if consensus about how this should be achieved may be as contentious as in richer countries.

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16

Care that puts people fi rst

People obviously want effective health care when they are sick or injured. They want it to come from providers with the integrity to act in their best interests, equi tably and honestly, with knowledge and compe tence. The demand for competence is not trivial: it fuels the health economy with steadily increased demand for professional care (doctors, nurses and other non-physician clinicians who play an increasing role in both industrialized and developing countries)

129

. For example, throughout the world, women are switching from the use of traditional birth attendants to midwives, doctors and obstetricians (Figure 1.12)

130

.

The PHC movement has underestimated the speed with which the transition in demand from traditional caregivers to professional care would bypass initial attempts to rapidly expand access to health care by relying on non-professional

“community health workers”, with their added value of cultural competence. Where strategies for extending PHC coverage proposed lay workers as an alternative rather than as a complement to professionals, the care provided has often been perceived to be poor

131

. This has pushed people towards commercial care, which they, rightly or wrongly, perceived to be more competent, while attention was diverted from the challenge of more effectively incorporating professionals under the umbrella of PHC.

Proponents of PHC were right about the importance of cultural and relational competence, which was to be the key comparative advantage of community health workers. Citizens in the developing world, like those in rich countries, are not looking for technical competence alone: they also want health-care providers to be understanding, respectful and trustworthy

132

. They want health care to be organized around their needs, respectful of their beliefs and sensitive to their particular situation in life. They do not want to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous providers, nor do they want to be considered mere targets for disease control programmes (they may never have liked that, but they are now certainly becoming more vocal about it). In poor and rich countries, people want more from health care than interventions. Increasingly, there is recognition that the resolution of health problems should take into account the socio-cultural context of the families and communities where they occur

133

.

Much public and private health care today is organized around what providers consider to be effective and convenient, often with little attention to or understanding of what is important for their clients

134

. Things do not have to be that way. As experience – particularly from industrialized countries – has shown, health services can be made more people-centred. This makes them more effective and also provides a more rewarding working environment

135

. Regrettably, developing countries have often put less emphasis on making services more people-centred, as if this were less relevant in resource-constrained circumstances. However, neglecting people’s needs and expectations is a recipe for disconnecting health services from the communities they serve. People-centredness is not a luxury, it is a necessity, also for services catering to the poor.

Only people-centred services will minimize social exclusion and avoid leaving people at the mercy of unregulated commercialized health care, where the illusion of a more responsive environment carries a hefty price in terms of fi nancial expense and iatrogenesis.

Securing the health of communities

People do not think about health only in terms of sickness or injury, but also in terms of what they perceive as endangering their health and that of their community

118

. Whereas cultural and political explanations for health hazards vary widely, there is a general and growing tendency to hold the authorities responsible for offering protection against, or rapidly responding to such dangers

136

.

This is an essential part of the social contract that gives legitimacy to the state. Politicians in rich as well as poor countries increasingly ignore their duty to protect people from health hazards at their peril: witness the political fall-out of the poor management of the hurricane Katrina disaster in the United States in 2005, or of the 2008 garbage disposal crisis in Naples, Italy.

Access to information about health hazards in our globalizing world is increasing. Knowledge is spreading beyond the community of health professionals and scientifi c experts. Concerns about health hazards are no longer limited to the traditional public health agenda of improving

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

Figure 1.12

The professionalization of birthing care: percentage of births assisted by professional and other carers in selected areas, 2000 and 2005 with projections to 2015

a

Percentage of births

100

80

Lay person

Traditional birth attendant

Other health professional

Doctor

60

40

20

0

2000 2005

Sub-Saharan

Africa

2015 2000 2005

Asia

2015

South and South-East

2000 2005 2015

Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia a

Source: Pooled data from 88 DHS surveys 1995–2006, linear projection to 2015.

2000 2005 2015

Latin America and the Caribbean the quality of drinking water and sanitation to prevent and control infectious diseases. In the wake of the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health

Promotion

137

, a much wider array of issues constitute the health promotion agenda, including food safety and environmental hazards as well as collective lifestyles, and the social environment that affects health and quality of life

138

. In recent years, it has been complemented by growing concerns for a health hazard that used to enjoy little visibility, but is increasingly the object of media coverage: the risks to the safety of patients

139

.

Reliable, responsive health authorities

During the 20th century, health has progressively been incorporated as a public good guaranteed by government entitlement. There may be disagreement as to how broadly to defi ne the welfare state and the collective goods that go with it

140,141

, but, in modernizing states, the social and political responsibility entrusted to health authorities – not just ministries of health, but also local governmental structures, professional organizations and civil society organizations with a quasigovernmental role – is expanding.

Circumstances or short-term political expediency may at times tempt governments to withdraw from their social responsibilities for fi nancing and regulating the health sector, or from service delivery and essential public health functions.

Predictably, this creates more problems than it solves. Whether by choice or because of external pressure, the withdrawal of the state that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s in China and the former Soviet Union, as well as in a considerable number of low-income countries, has had visible and worrisome consequences for health and for the functioning of health services. Signifi cantly, it has created social tensions that affected the legitimacy of political leadership

119

.

In many parts of the world, there is considerable skepticism about the way and the extent to which health authorities assume their responsibilities for health. Surveys show a trend of diminishing trust in public institutions as guarantors of the equity, honesty and integrity of the health sector

123,142,143

. Nevertheless, on the whole, people expect their health authorities to work for the common good, to do this well and with foresight

144

. There is a multiplication of scoring

17

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cards, rankings and other league tables of public action used either at the national or global level

141

, while consumer organizations are addressing health sector problems

111

, and national and global civil society watchdog organizations are emerging

146,147,148,149

. These recent trends attest to prevailing doubts about how well health authorities are able to provide stewardship for the health system, as well as to the rising expectations for them to do even better.

Participation

At the same time, however, surveys show that, as societies modernize, people increasingly want to

“have a say” in “important decisions that affect their lives”

123,112

, which would include issues such as resource allocation and the organization and regulation of care. Experience from countries as diverse as Chile, Sweden and Thailand shows, however, that people are more concerned with having guarantees for fair and transparent processes than with the actual technicalities of priority setting

150,151

. In other words, an optimum response to aspirations for a bigger say in health policy matters would be evidence of a structured and functional system of checks and balances.

This would include relevant stakeholders and would guarantee that the policy agenda could not be hijacked by particular interest groups

152

. guage people use to express these expectations may differ from that of Alma-Ata.

This evolution from formal ethical principles to generalized social expectations fundamentally alters the political dynamics around health systems change. It opens fresh opportunities for generating social and political momentum to move health systems in the directions people want them to go, and that are summarized in Figure 1.13.

It moves the debate from a purely technical discussion on the relative effi ciency of various ways of “treating” health problems to include political considerations on the social goals that defi ne the direction in which to steer health systems.

The subsequent chapters outline a set of reforms aimed at aligning specialist-based, fragmented and commercialized health systems with these rising social expectations. These PHC reforms aim to channel society’s resources towards more equity and an end to exclusion; towards health services that revolve around people’s needs and expectations; and towards public policies that secure the health of communities. Across these reforms is the imperative of engaging citizens and other stakeholders: recognizing that vested interests that tend to pull health systems in different directions raises the premium on leadership and vision and on sustained learning to do better.

PHC reforms: driven by demand

The core values articulated by the PHC movement three decades ago are, thus, more powerfully present in many settings now than at the time of Alma-Ata. They are not just there in the form of moral convictions espoused by an intellectual vanguard. Increasingly, they exist as concrete social expectations felt and asserted by broad groups of ordinary citizens within modernizing societies. Thirty years ago, the values of equity, people-centredness, community participation and self-determination embraced by the PHC movement were considered radical by many. Today, these values have become widely shared social expectations for health that increasingly pervade many of the world’s societies – though the lan-

Figure 1.13

The social values that drive PHC and the corresponding sets of reforms

Health equity

Solidarity

Social inclusion

People-centred care

Universal coverage reforms

Chapter 2

Health authorities that can be relied on

Leadership reforms

Chapter 5

Service delivery reforms

Chapter 3

Communities where health is promoted and protected

Public policy reforms

Chapter 4

18

Chapter 1. The challenges of a changing world

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21

Advancing and sustaining

universal coverage

People expect their health systems to be equitable. The roots of health inequities lie in social conditions outside the health system’s direct control. These root causes have to be tackled through intersectoral and cross-government action.

At the same time, the health sector can take signifi cant actions to advance health equity internally. The basis

Chapter 2

for this is the set of reforms that aim at moving towards universal

The central place of health equity in PHC

Moving towards universal coverage

24

25

coverage, i.e. towards universal access to health services with

Challenges in moving towards universal coverage

27

social health protection.

Targeted interventions to complement universal coverage mechanisms

32

34

Mobilizing for health equity

23

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

Figure 2.1

Catastrophic expenditure related to out-of-pocket payment at the point of service

1

Households with catastrophic expenditure (%) OECD countries Other countries

10

5

0

0

The central place of health equity in PHC

“If you get sick, you have to choose: you either go without treatment or you lose the farm.”

1

Nearly a century ago, the unforgiving reality of life in rural Canada prompted Matthew Anderson

(1882–1974) to launch a tax-based health insurance scheme that eventually led to countrywide adoption of universal health care across Canada in 1965. Unfortunately, equally shocking lose-lose situations abound today across the world. More than 30 years after the clarion call of Alma-Ata for greater equity in health, most of the world’s health-care systems continue to rely on the most inequitable method for fi nancing health-care services: out-of-pocket payments by the sick or their families at the point of service. For 5.6 billion people in low- and middle-income countries, over half of all health-care expenditure is through outof-pocket payments. This deprives many families of needed care because they cannot afford it. Also, more than 100 million people around the world are pushed into poverty each year because of catastrophic health-care expenditures

2

. There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating that fi nancial protection is better, and catastrophic expenditure less frequent, in those countries in which there is more pre-payment for health care and less out-of-pocket payment. Conversely, catastrophic expenditure is more frequent when health care has to be paid for out-of-pocket at the point of service (Figure 2.1).

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80

Out-of-pocket payment as percentage of total health expenditure

90 100

While equity marks one of PHC’s boldest features, it is one of the areas where results have been most uneven and where the premium for more effective reforms is perhaps the greatest.

Out-of-pocket payments for health care are but one of the sources of health inequity. Deeply unequal opportunities for health combined with endemic inequalities in health care provision lead to pervasive inequities in health outcomes

3

.

Growing awareness of these regressive patterns is causing increasing intolerance of the whole spectrum of unnecessary, avoidable and unfair differences in health

4

.

The extent of health inequities is documented in much more detail today. They stem from social stratifi cation and political inequalities that lie outside the boundaries of the health system. Income and social status matter, as do the neighbourhoods where people live, their employment conditions and factors, such as personal behaviour, race and stress

5

. Health inequities also fi nd their roots in the way health systems exclude people, such as inequities in availability, access, quality and burden of payment, and even in the way clinical practice is conducted

6

. Left to their own devices, health systems do not move towards greater equity. Most health services – hospitals in particular, but also fi rst-level care

– are consistently inequitable providing more and higher quality services to the well-off than to the poor, who are in greater need

7,8,9,10

. Differences in vulnerability and exposure combine with inequalities in health care to lead to unequal health outcomes; the latter further contribute to the social stratifi cation that led to the inequalities in the fi rst place. People are rarely indifferent to this cycle of inequalities, making their concerns as relevant to politicians as they are to health- system managers.

It takes a wide range of interventions to tackle the social determinants of health and make health systems contribute to more health equity

11

. These interventions reach well beyond the traditional realm of health-service policies, relying on the mobilization of stakeholders and constituencies outside the health sector

12

. They include

13

:

Q reduction of social stratifi cation, e.g. by reducing income inequality through taxes and subsidized public services, providing jobs with

24

Chapter 2.

Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

Q

Q

Q adequate pay, using labour intensive growth strategies, promoting equal opportunities for women and making free education available, etc.; reduction of vulnerabilities, e.g. by providing social security for the unemployed or disabled, developing social networks at community level, introducing social inclusion policies and policies that protect mothers while working or studying, offering cash benefi ts or transfers, providing free healthy lunches at school, etc.; protection, particularly of the disadvantaged, against exposure to health hazards, e.g. by introducing safety regulations for the physical and social environment, providing safe water and sanitation, promoting healthy lifestyles, establishing healthy housing policies, etc.); mitigation of the consequences of unequal health outcomes that contribute to further social stratifi cation, e.g. by protecting the sick from unfair dismissal from their jobs.

The need for such multiple strategies could discourage some health leaders who might feel that health inequality is a societal problem over which they have little infl uence. Yet, they do have a responsibility to address health inequality. The policy choices they make for the health sector defi ne the extent to which health systems exacerbate or mitigate health inequalities and their capacity to mobilize around the equity agenda within government and civil society.

These choices also play a key part in society’s response to citizens’ aspirations for more equity and solidarity. The question, therefore, is not if, but how health leaders can more effectively pursue strategies that will build greater equity in the provision of health services.

Moving towards universal coverage

The fundamental step a country can take to promote health equity is to move towards universal coverage: universal access to the full range of personal and non-personal health services they need, with social health protection. Whether the arrangements for universal coverage are taxbased or are organized through social health insurance, or a mix of both, the principles are the same: pooling pre-paid contributions collected on the basis of ability to pay, and using these funds to ensure that services are available, accessible and produce quality care for those who need them, without exposing them to the risk of catastrophic expenditures

14,15,16

. Universal coverage is not, by itself, suffi cient to ensure health for all and health equity – inequalities persist in countries with universal or near-universal coverage – but it provides the necessary foundation

9

.

While universal coverage is fundamental to building health equity, it has rarely been the object of an easy social consensus. Indeed, in countries where universal coverage has been achieved or embraced as a political goal, the idea has often met with strong initial resistance, for example, from associations of medical professionals concerned about the impact of government-managed health insurance schemes on their incomes and working conditions, or from fi nancial experts determined to rein in public spending. As with other entitlements that are now taken for granted in almost all high-income countries, universal health coverage has generally been struggled for and won by social movements, not spontaneously bestowed by political leaders. There is now widespread consensus that providing such coverage is simply part of the package of core obligations that any legitimate government must fulfi l vis-à-vis its citizens. In itself, this is a political achievement that shapes the modernization of society.

Industrialized countries, particularly in

Europe, began to put social health protection schemes in place in the late 19th century, moving towards universalism in the second half of the 20th century. The opportunity now exists for low- and middle-income countries to implement comparable approaches. Costa Rica, Mexico, the Rebublic of Korea, Thailand and Turkey are among the countries that have already introduced ambitious universal coverage schemes, moving signifi cantly faster than industrialized countries did in the past. Other countries are weighing similar options

14

. The technical challenge of moving towards universal coverage is to expand coverage in three ways (Figure 2.2).

The breadth of coverage

– the proportion of the population that enjoys social health protection – must expand progressively to encompass

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Figure 2.2

Extend to uninsured

Three ways of moving towards universal coverage

Total health expenditure

Public expenditure on health

Breadth: who is insured?

Reduce cost sharing

17

Include other services

Height: what proportion of the costs is covered?

Depth: which benefits are covered?

the uninsured, i.e. the population groups that lack access to services and/or social protection against the fi nancial consequences of taking up health care. Expanding the breadth of coverage is a complex process of progressive expansion and merging of coverage models (Box 2.1). During this process, care must be taken to ensure safety nets for the poorest and most vulnerable until they also are covered. It may take years to cover the entire population but, as recent experience from a number of middle-income countries shows, it is possible to move much faster than was the case for industrialized countries during the 20th century.

Meanwhile, the

depth of coverage

must also grow, expanding the range of essential services that are necessary to address people’s health needs effectively, taking into account demand and expectations, and the resources society is willing and able to allocate to health. The determination of the corresponding “essential package” of benefi ts can play a key role here, provided the process is conducted appropriately (Box 2.2).

The third dimension,

the height of coverage

, i.e. the portion of health-care costs covered through pooling and pre-payment mechanisms must also rise, diminishing reliance on out-ofpocket co-payments at the point of service delivery.

In the 1980s and 1990s, many countries introduced user fees in an effort to infuse new resources into struggling services, often in a context of disengagement of the state and dwindling public resources for health. Most undertook these measures without anticipating the extent of the damage they would do. In many settings, dramatic declines in service use ensued, particularly among vulnerable groups

20

, while the frequency of catastrophic expenditure increased.

Some countries have since reconsidered their position and have started phasing out user fees and replacing the lost income from pooled funds

(government subsidies or contracts, insurance

Box 2.1

Best practices in moving towards universal coverage

Emphasize pre-payment from the start.

It may take many years before access to health services and fi nancial protection against the costs involved in their use are available for all: it took Japan and the United Kingdom 36 years

14

. The road may seem discouragingly long, particularly for the poorest countries, where health-care networks are sparsely developed, fi nancial protection schemes embryonic and the health sector highly dependent on external funds. Particularly in these countries, however, it is crucial to move towards pre-payment systems from a very early stage and to resist the temptation to rely on user fees. Setting up and maintaining appropriate mechanisms for pre-payment builds the institutional capacity to manage the fi nancing of the system along with the extension of service supply that is usually lacking in such contexts.

Coordinate funding sources.

In order to organize universal coverage, it is necessary to consider all sources of funding in a country: public, private, external and domestic. In low-income countries, it is particularly important that international funding be channelled through nascent pre-payment and pooling schemes and institutions rather than through project or programme funding. Routing funds in this way has two purposes. It makes external funding more stable and predictable and helps build the institutional capacity to develop and extend supply, access and fi nancial protection in a balanced way.

Combine schemes to build towards full coverage.

Many countries with limited resources and administrative capacity have experimented with a multitude of voluntary insurance schemes: community, cooperative, employer-based and other private schemes, as a way to foster pre-payment and pooling in preparation for the move towards more comprehensive national systems

18

. Such schemes are no substitute for universal coverage although they can become building blocks of the universal system

18

. Realizing universal coverage means coordinating or combining these schemes progressively into a coherent whole that ensures coverage to all population groups

15

and builds bridges with broader social protection programmes

19

.

26

Chapter 2.

Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

Box 2.2

Defi ning “essential packages”: what needs to be done to go beyond a paper exercise?

In recent years, many low- and midde-income countries (55 out of a sample of 69 reviewed in 2007) have gone through exercises to defi ne the package of benefi ts they feel should be available to all their citizens. This has been one of the key strategies in improving the effectiveness of health systems and the equitable distribution of resources. It is supposed to make priority setting, rationing of care, and trade-offs between breadth and depth of coverage explicit.

On the whole, attempts to rationalize service delivery by defi ning packages have not been particularly successful

24

. In most cases, their scope has been limited to maternal and child health care, and to health problems considered as global health priorities. The lack of attention, for example, to chronic and noncommunicable diseases confi rms the under-valuation of the demographic and epidemiological transitions and the lack of consideration for perceived needs and demand. The packages rarely give guidance on the division of tasks and responsibilities, or on the defi ning features of primary care, such as comprehensiveness, continuity or person-centredness.

A more sophisticated approach is required to make the defi nition of benefi t packages more relevant. The way Chile has provided a detailed specifi cation of the health rights of its citizens

25

suggests a number of principles of good practice.

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q

The exercise should not be limited to a set of predefi ned priorities: it should look at demand as well as at the full range of health needs.

It should specify what should be provided at primary and secondary levels.

The implementation of the package should be costed so that political decision-makers are aware of what will

not

be included if health care remains under-funded.

There have to be institutionalized mechanisms for evidence-based review of the package of benefi ts.

People need to be informed about the benefi ts they can claim, with mechanisms of mediation when claims are being denied. Chile went to great lengths to ensure that the package of benefi ts corresponds to people’s expectations, with studies, surveys and systems to capture the complaints and misgivings of users

26

.

20 000

10 000

0 or pre-payment schemes)

21

. This has resulted in substantial increases in the use of services, especially by the poor

20

. In Uganda, for example, service use increased suddenly and dramatically and the increase was sustained after the elimination of user fees (Figure 2.3)

22,23

.

Pre-payment and pooling institutionalizes solidarity between the rich and the less well-off, and between the healthy and the sick. It lifts barriers to the uptake of services and reduces the

Figure 2.3

Impact of abolishing user fees on outpatient attendance in

Kisoro district, Uganda: outpatient attendance 1998–2002

23

Outpatients per month

30 000

1998 1999

User fees abolished

2000 2001 2002 risk that people will incur catastrophic expenses when they are sick. Finally, it provides the means to re-invest in the availability, range and quality of services.

Challenges in moving towards universal coverage

All universal coverage reforms have to fi nd compromises between the speed with which they increase coverage and the breadth, depth and height of coverage. However, the way countries devise their strategies and focus their reforms very much depends on their specifi c national contexts.

In some countries, a very large part of the population lives in extremely deprived areas, with an absent or dysfunctional health-care infrastructure. These are countries of mass exclusion typically brought to mind when one talks about “scaling up”: the poor and remote rural areas where health-care networks have not been deployed yet or where, after years of neglect, the health infrastructure continues to exist in name only. Such patterns occur in low-income countries

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Figure 2.4

countries, marginalization of the poor in others. Births attended by medically trained personnel (percentage), by income group

27

100

Different patterns of exclusion: massive deprivation in some

60

Colombia (2005)

Turkey (1998)

40

20

0 such as Bangladesh, Chad and Niger (Figure 2.4), and are common in confl ict and post-confl ict areas where health workers have departed and the health infrastructure has been destroyed and needs to be rebuilt from scratch.

In other parts of the world, the challenge is in providing health support to widely dispersed populations, for example, in small island states, remote desert or mountainous regions, and among nomadic and some indigenous populations. Ensuring access to quality care in these settings entails grappling with the diseconomies of scale connected with small, scattered populations; logistical constraints on referral; diffi culties linked to limited infrastructure and communications capacities; and, in some cases, more specifi c technical complications, such as maintaining patient records for nomadic groups.

A different challenge is extending coverage in settings where inequalities do not result from the lack of available health infrastructure, but from the way health care is organized, regulated and, above all, paid for by offi cial or under-the-counter user charges. These are situations where underutilization of available services is concentrated among the poor, whereas users are exposed to the risks of catastrophic expenditure. Such patterns of exclusion occur in countries such as

Colombia, Nicaragua and Turkey (Figure 2.4). It is particularly striking in the many urban areas of low- and middle-income countries where a

80

Nigaragua (2001)

Quintille 1

(lowest)

Quintille 2 Quintille 3 Quintille 4

Niger (1998)

Chad (2004)

Bangladesh (2004)

Quintille 5

(highest) plethora of assorted, unregulated, commercial health-care providers charge users prohibitive fees while providing inadequate services.

Ways of tackling the situations described in this section are elaborated below.

Rolling out primary-care networks to fi ll the availability gap

In areas where no health services are available for large population groups, or where such services are grossly inadequate or fragmented, the basic health-care infrastructure needs to be built or rebuilt, often from the ground up. These areas are always severely resource-constrained and frequently affected by confl icts or complex emergencies, while the scale of under-servicing, also in other sectors, engenders logistical diffi culties and problems in deploying health professionals.

Health planners in these settings face a fundamental strategic dilemma: whether to prioritize a massive scale-up of a limited set of interventions to the entire population or a progressive roll-out of more comprehensive primary-care systems on a district-by-district basis.

Some would advocate, in the name of speed and equity, an approach in which a restricted number of priority programmes is rolled out simultaneously to all the inhabitants in the deprived areas. This allows for task shifting to low-skilled personnel, lay workers and volunteers and, consequently, rapid extension of coverage.

It is still central to what the global community often prescribes for the rural areas of the poorest countries

28

, and quite a number of countries have chosen this option over the last 30 years.

Ethiopia, for example, is currently deploying

30 000 health extension workers to provide massive numbers of people with a limited package of priority preventive interventions. The poor skills base is often well recognized as a limiting factor

29

, but Ethiopia’s extension workers are no longer as low skilled as they once were, and currently benefi t from a year of post-Grade 10 training. Nevertheless, skill limitations reinforce the focus on a limited number of effective but simple interventions.

Scaling up a limited number of interventions has the advantage of rapidly covering the entire population and focusing resources on what is known to be cost effective. The downside is that

28

Chapter 2.

Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

when people experience health problems, they want them to be dealt with, whether or not they fi t nicely within the programmatic priorities that are being proposed. Ignoring this dimension of demand too much opens the door to “drug peddlers”, “injectors” and other types of providers, who can capitalize on commercial opportunities arising from unmet health needs. They offer patients an appealing alternative, but one that is often exploitative and harmful. Compared with a situation of utter lack of health action, there is an indisputable benefi t in scaling up even a very limited package of interventions and the possibility of relying on low-skilled staff makes it an attractive option. However, upgrading often proves more diffi cult than initially envisaged

30

and, in the meantime, valuable time, resources and credibility are lost which might have allowed for investment in a more ambitious, but also more sustainable and effective primary-care infrastructure.

The alternative is a progressive roll-out of primary care, district-by-district, of a network of health centres with the necessary hospital support. Such a response obviously includes the priority interventions, but integrated in a comprehensive primary-care package. The extension platform is the primary-care centre: a professionalized infrastructure where the interface with the community is organized, with a problem solving capacity and modular expansion of the range of activities. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s progressive roll-out of rural coverage is an impressive example of this model. As one of the fathers of the country’s PHC strategy put it: “Since it was impossible to launch the project in all provinces at the same time, we decided to focus on a single province each year” (Box 2.3).

The limiting factors for a progressive roll-out of primary-care networks are the lack of a stable cadre of mid-level staff with the leadership qualities to organize health districts and with the ability to maintain, over the years, the constant effort required to build sustainable results for the entire population. Where the roll-out has been conducted as an administrative exercise, it has led to disappointment: many health districts exist in name only. But where impatience and pressure for short-term visibility has been managed

Box 2.3

Closing the urban-rural gap through progressive expansion of PHC coverage in rural areas in the Islamic Republic of Iran

31

In the 1970s, the Iranian Government’s policies emphasized prevention as a long-term investment, allocation of resources to rural and under-privileged areas, and prioritizing ambulatory care over hospitalization. A network of district teams to manage and oversee almost 2500 village-based rural health centres was established. These centres are staffed by a team that includes a general practitioner, midwife, nurse and several health technicians. Each of the rural health centres oversees 1–5 smaller points of care known as “health houses”. With 17 000 of these health houses, over 90% of the rural population has access to health care. In remote rural areas, these health houses are staffed by

Behvarz

(multi-purpose health workers) who are selected by the community, receive between 12 and 18 months training and are then recruited by the Government. The district teams provide training based on problemsolving, as well as ongoing supervision and support.

The Government deployed this strategy progressively, extending coverage to one province at a time. Over the years, the PHC network has grown and is now able to provide services to over 24 million people in rural villages and small cities by bringing the points of care closer to where people live and work, as well as by training the necessary auxiliary health staff to provide family planning, preventive care services, and essential curative care for the majority of health problems. Rural health service utilization rates are now the same as in urban areas. The progressive roll-out of this system has helped to reduce the urban-rural gap in child mortality (Figure 2.5).

Figure 2.5

Under-five mortality in rural and urban areas, the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1980–2000

32

Mortality per 1000 children under five

80

Rural

60

40

20

0

1980

Urban

1985 1990 1995 adequately, a blend of response to need and demand, and participation of the population and key actors has made it possible to build robust primary-care networks, even in very diffi cult and resource-constrained settings of confl ict, and post-confl ict environments (Box 2.4).

2000

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The distinction between rapid deployment of priority interventions and progressive roll-out of primary-care networks is, in practice, often not as straightforward as described above. However, for all the convergence, trying to balance speed and sustainability is a real political dilemma

30

.

Mali, among others, has shown that, given the choice, people willingly opt for progressive rollout, making community health centres – whose infrastructure is owned and personnel employed by the local community – the basis of functional health districts.

Crucially, concern for equity should not be translated into a “lowest common denominator” approach: equal access for all to a set of largely unsatisfactory services. Quality and sustainability are important, particularly since nowadays the multitude of varied and dynamic governmental, not-for-profi t and for-profi t private providers of various kinds are in dire need of alignment.

Progressive roll-out of health services provides the opportunity to establish welcome leadership coherence in health-care provision at district level.

Typical large-scale examples of this approach in developing countries are the contracting out of district health services in Cambodia, or the incorporation of missionary “designated district hospitals” in East Africa. Nevertheless, there is no getting away from the need for massive and sustained investment to expand and maintain health districts in the long term and from the fact that this represents a considerable challenge in a context of sluggish economic growth and stagnating health expenditure.

Extending health-care networks to underserved areas depends on public initiative and incentives. One way to accelerate the extension of coverage is to adjust budget allocation formulae (or contract specifi cations) to refl ect the extra efforts required to contact hard-to-reach populations. Several countries have taken steps in this direction. In January 2004, for example, the

United Republic of Tanzania adopted a revised formula for the allocation of basket funds to districts that includes population size and underfi ve mortality as a proxy for disease burden and poverty level, while adjusting for the differential costs of providing health services in rural and low-density areas. Similarly, allocations to districts under Uganda’s PHC budget factor in the districts’ Human Development Index and levels of external health funding, in addition to population size. Supplements are paid to districts with diffi cult security situations or lacking a district hospital

20

. In Chile, budgets are allocated on a capitation basis but, as part of the PHC reforms, these were adjusted using municipal human development indices and a factor to refl ect the isolation of underserved areas.

Overcoming the isolation of dispersed populations

Although providing access to services for dispersed populations is often a daunting logistical challenge, some countries have dealt with it by developing creative approaches. Devising mechanisms to share innovative experiences and results has clearly been a key step, for example, through the “Healthy Islands” initiative, launched at the meeting of Ministers and Heads of Health in Yanuca, Fiji, in 1995

34

. The initiative brings together health policy-makers and practitioners to address challenges to islanders’ health and well-being from an explicitly multi-sectoral perspective, with a focus on expanding coverage of curative health-care services, but also reinforcing promotive strategies and cross-sectoral action on the determinants of health and health equity.

Through the Healthy Islands initiative and related experiences, a number of principles have emerged as crucial to the advancement of universal coverage in these settings. The fi rst concerns collaboration in organizing infrastructure that maximizes scales of effi ciency. An isolated community may be unable to afford key inputs to expand coverage, which includes infrastructure, technologies and human resources (particularly the training of personnel). However, when communities join forces, they can secure such inputs at manageable costs

35

. A second strategic focus is on “mobile resources” or those that can overcome distance and geographical obstacles effi ciently and affordably. Depending on the setting, this strategic focus may include transportation, radio communications, and other information and communications technologies. Telecommunications

30

Chapter 2.

Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

Box 2.4

The robustness of PHC-led health systems: 20 years of expanding performance in

Rutshuru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Rutshuru is a health district in the east of the country. It has a network of health centres, a referral hospital and a district management team where community participation has been fostered for years through local committees. Rutshuru has experienced severe stress over the years, testing the robustness of the district health system. health centres and the district hospital took care of more than

1 500 000 disease episodes in 20 years, immunized more than

100 000 infants, provided midwifery care to 70 000 women and carried out 8 000 surgical procedures. This shows that, even in disastrous circumstances, a robust district health system can improve health-care outputs.

Over the last 30 years, the economy of the country has gone into a sharp decline. GDP dropped from US$ 300 per capita in the 1980s to below US$ 100 at the end of the 1990s. Massive impoverishment was made worse as the State retreated from the health sector. This was compounded by an interruption of overseas development aid in the early 1990s. In that context, Rutshuru suffered inter-ethnic strife, a massive infl ux of refugees and two successive wars. This complex of disasters severely affected the working conditions of health professionals and access to health services for the 200 000 people living in the district.

Nevertheless, instead of collapsing, PHC services continued their expansion over the years. The number of health centres and their output increased

(Figure 2.6), and quality of care improved for acute cases (case-fatality rate after caesarean section dropped from 7% to less than 3%) as well as for chronic patients (at least 60% of tuberculosis patients were treated successfully). With no more than 70 nurses and three medical doctors at a time, and in the midst of war and havoc, the

These results were achieved with modest means. Out-of-pocket payments amounted to US$ 0.5 per capita per year. Nongovernmental organizations subsidized the district with an average of US$

1.5 per capita per year. The Government’s contribution was virtually nil during most of these 20 years. The continuity of the work under extremely diffi cult circumstances can be explained by team work and collegial decision-making, unrelenting efforts to build up and maintain a critical mass of dedicated human resources, and limited but constant nongovernmental support, which provided a minimum of resources for health facilities and gave the district management team the opportunity to maintain contact with the outside world.

Figure 2.6

Improving health-care outputs in the midst of disaster:

Rutshuru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1985–2004

33

Three lessons can be learnt from this experience. In

Coverage DPT3 vaccination (%) the long run, PHC-led

Birth attended by medically trained personnel (%)

New cases curative care per 100 inhabitants per year health districts are an organizational model that

100 has the robustness to

External aid interrupted

Refugee crisis

First

War

Second

War resist extremely adverse

90 conditions. Maintaining

80 minimal fi nancial support

70 and supervision to such

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

1985 1990 1995 2000 districts can yield very significant results, while empowering and retaining national health professionals. Local health services have a c onsider able potential for coping with crises

33

.

can enable less skilled frontline health-centre staff to be advised and guided by experts at a distance in real time

36

. Finally, the fi nancing of health care for dispersed populations poses specifi c challenges, which often require larger per capita expenditure compared to more clustered populations. In countries whose territories include both high-density and low-density populations, it is expected that dispersed populations will receive some subsidy of care. After all, equity does not come without solidarity.

Providing alternatives to unregulated commercial services

In urban and periurban contexts, health services are physically within reach of the poor and other vulnerable populations. The presence of multiple health-care providers does not mean, however, that these groups are protected from diseases, nor that they can get quality care when they need it: the more privileged tend to get better access to the best services, public and private, easily coming out on top in a

de facto

competition for scarce

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resources. In the urban and increasingly in the rural areas of many low- and middle-income countries – from India and Viet Nam to sub-

Saharan Africa – much health care for the poor is provided by small-scale, largely unregulated and often unlicenced providers, both commercial and not-for-profi t. Often, they work alongside dysfunctional public services and capture an overwhelmingly large part of the health-care market, while the health promotion and prevention agenda is totally ignored. Vested interests make the promotion of universal coverage paradoxically more diffi cult in these circumstances than in areas where the challenge is to build health-care delivery networks from scratch.

These contexts often combine problems of fi nancial exploitation, bad quality and unsafe care, and exclusion from needed services

37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45.46

.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has estimated that 47% of Latin America’s population is excluded from needed services

47

. This may be for broader reasons of poverty, ethnicity or gender, or because the resources of the health system are not correctly targeted. It may be because there are no adequate systems to protect people against catastrophic expenditure or from fi nancial exploitation by unscrupulous or insensitive providers. It may have to do with the way people, rightly or wrongly, perceive health services: lack of trust, the expectation of ill-treatment or discrimination, uncertainty about the cost-of-care, or the anticipation that the cost will be unaffordable or catastrophic. Services may also be untimely, ineffective, unresponsive or plain discriminatory, providing poorer patients with inferior treatment

48,49,21

.

As a result, health outcomes vary considerably by social class, even in well-regulated and well-funded health-care systems.

In addressing these patterns of exclusion within the health-care sector, the starting point is to create or strengthen networks of accessible quality primary-care services that rely on pooled pre-payment or public resources for their funding. Whether these networks are expanded by contracting commercial or not-for-profi t providers, or by revitalizing dysfunctional public facilities is not the critical issue. The point is to ensure that they offer care of an acceptable standard. A critical mass of primary-care centres that provide an essential package of quality services free-ofcharge, provides an important alternative to substandard, exploitative commercial care. Furthermore, peer pressure and consumer demand can help to create an environment in which regulation of the commercial sector becomes possible.

More active involvement of municipal authorities in pre-payment and pooling schemes to improve the supply of quality care is probably one of the avenues to follow, particularly where ministries of health with budgetary constraints also have to extend services to underserved rural areas.

Targeted interventions to complement universal coverage mechanisms

Rising average national income, a growing supply of health-care providers and accelerated progress towards universal coverage are, unfortunately, not suffi cient to eliminate health inequities. Socially determined health differences among population groups persist in high-income countries with robust, universal health-care and social-service systems, such as Finland and France

11,50

. Health inequalities do not just exist between the poor and the non-poor, but across the entire socioeconomic gradient. There are circumstances where other forms of exclusion are of prime concern, including the exclusion of adolescents, ethnic groups, drug users and those affected by stigmatizing diseases

51

. In Australia, Canada and New Zealand, among others, health equity gaps between

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations have emerged as national political issues

52,53,54

. In other settings, inequalities in women’s access to health care merit attention

55

. In the United States, for example, declines in female life expectancy of up to fi ve years in over 1000 counties point to differential exposure and clustering of risks to health even as the country’s economy and health sector continues to grow

56

. For a variety of reasons, some groups within these societies are either not reached or insuffi ciently reached by opportunities for health or services and continue to experience health outcomes systematically inferior to those of more advantaged groups.

32

Chapter 2.

Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

Thus, it is necessary to embed universal coverage in wider social protection schemes and to complement it with specially designed, targeted forms of outreach to vulnerable and excluded groups

57

. Established health-care networks often do not make all possible efforts to ensure that everyone in their target population has access to the full range of health benefi ts they need, as this requires extra efforts, such as home visits, outreach services, specialized language and cultural facilitation, evening consultations, etc.

These may, however, mitigate the effect of social stratifi cation and inequalities in the uptake of services

58

. They may also offer the opportunity to construct comprehensive support packages to foster social inclusion of historically marginalized populations, in collaboration with other government sectors and with affected communities.

Chile’s

Chile Solidario

(Chilean Solidarity) model of outreach to families in long-term poverty is one example (Box 2.5)

59

. Such targeted measures may include subsidizing people – not services – to take up specifi c health services, for example, through vouchers

60,61

for maternal care as in India and

Yemen, for bednets as in the United Republic of

Tanzania

62,63

, for contraceptive uptake by adolescents

64

or care for the elderly uninsured as in the United States

65

. Conditional cash transfers, where the benefi ciary is not only enabled, but compelled to take up services is another model, which has been introduced in several countries in

Latin America. A recent systematic review of six such programmes suggests that conditional cash transfers can be effective in increasing the use of preventive services and improving nutritional and anthropometric outcomes, sometimes improving health status

66

. However, their overall effect on health status remains less clear and so does their comparative advantage over traditional, unconditional, income maintenance, through universal entitlements, social insurance or – less-effective

– means-tested social assistance.

Targeted measures are not substitutes for the long-term drive towards universal coverage. They can be useful and necessary complements, but without simultaneous institutionalization of the fi nancing models and system structures that support universal coverage, targeted approaches are unlikely to overcome the inequalities generated by socioeconomic stratifi cation and exclusion.

This is all the more important since systematic evaluation of methods to target the excluded is scarce and marred by the limited number of documented experiences and a bias towards reporting preferentially on successful pilots

67

. If anything defi nite can be said today, it is that the strategies for reaching the unreached will have to be multiple and contextualized, and that no single targeting measure will suffi ce to correct health inequalities effectively, certainly not in the absence of a universal coverage policy.

Box 2.5

Targeting social protection in Chile

59

Established by law, the Chilean social protection programme (

Chile Solidario

) involves three main components to improve conditions for people living in extreme poverty: direct psycho-social support, fi nancial support and priority access to social programmes. The direct psycho-social support component involves families in extreme poverty being identifi ed according to pre-defi ned criteria and invited to enter into an agreement with a designated social worker. The social worker assists them to build individual and family capacities that help them to strengthen their links with social networks and to gain access to the social benefi ts to which they are entitled. In addition to psycho-social support, there is also fi nancial support in terms of cash transfers and pensions, as well as subsidies for raising families or covering water and sanitation costs. Finally, the social protection programme also provides preferential access to pre-school programmes, adult literacy courses, employment programmes and preventive health visits for women and children.

This social protection programme complements a multisectoral effort targeting all children aged 0–18 years (

Chile Crece Contigo

– Chile

Grows with You). The aim is to promote early childhood development through pre-school education programmes, preventive health checks, improved parental leave and increased child benefi ts. Better access to child-care services is also included as is enforcing the right of working mothers to nurse their babies, which is designed to stimulate women’s insertion into the employment market.

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34

Mobilizing for health equity

Health systems are invariably inequitable. More and higher quality services gravitate to the well-off who need them less than the poor and marginalized

8

. The universal coverage reforms required to move towards greater equity demand the enduring commitment of the highest political levels of society. Two levers may be especially important in accelerating action on health equity and maintaining momentum over time. The fi rst is raising the visibility of health inequities in public awareness and policy debates: the history of progress in the health of populations is intimately linked to the measurement of health inequalities.

It was the observation of excess mortality among the working class that informed the “Great Sanitary Awakening” reforms of the Poor Laws Commission in the United Kingdom in the 1830s

68

. The second is the creation of space for civil society participation in shaping the PHC reforms that are to advance health equity: the history of progress in universal coverage is intimately linked to that of social movements.

Increasing the visibility of health inequities

With the economic optimism of the 1960s and

1970s (and the expansion of social insurance in industrialized countries), poverty ceased being a priority issue for many policy-makers. It took

Alma-Ata to put equity back on the political agenda. The lack of systematic measurement and monitoring to translate this agenda into concrete challenges has long been a major constraint in advancing the PHC agenda. In recent years, income-related and other health inequalities have been studied in greater depth. The introduction of composite asset indices has made it possible to reanalyze demographic and health surveys from an equity viewpoint

69

. This has generated a wealth of documentary evidence on socioeconomic differentials in health outcomes and access to care.

It took this acceleration of the measurement of poverty and inequalities, particularly since the mid-1990s, to bring fi rst poverty and then, more generally, the challenge of persisting inequalities to the centre of the health policy debate.

Measurement of health inequities is paramount when confronting the common misperceptions that strongly infl uence health policy debates

70,71

.

Q

Simple population averages are suffi cient to assess progress – they are not.

Q

Q

Health systems designed for universal access are equitable – they are a necessary, but not a suffi cient condition.

In poor countries, everybody is equally poor

Q

Q and equally unhealthy – all societies are stratifi ed.

The main concern is between countries’ differences – inequalities within countries matter most to people.

Well-intended reforms to improve effi ciency will ultimately benefi t everybody – they often have unintended inequitable consequences.

Measu rement matters for a variet y of reasons

2

.

Q

Q

Q

It is important to know the extent and understand the nature of health inequalities and exclusion in a given society, so as to be able to share that information and translate it into objectives for change.

It is equally important, for the same reasons, to identify and understand the determinants of health inequality not only in general terms, but also within each specifi c national context.

Health authorities must be informed of the extent to which current or planned health policies contribute to inequalities, so as to be able to correct them.

Progress with reforms designed to reduce health inequalities, i.e. progress in moving towards universal coverage, needs to be monitored, so as to steer and correct these reforms as they unfold.

Despite policy-makers’ long-held commitment to the value of equity in health, its defi nition and measurement represent a more recent public health science. Unless health information systems collect data using standardized social stratifi ers, such as socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity and geographical area, it is diffi cult to identify and locate inequalities and, unless their magnitude and nature are uncovered, it is unlikely that they will be adequately addressed

72

. The now widely available analyses of Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data by asset quintiles

Chapter 2.

Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

have made a major difference in the awareness of policy-makers about health equity problems in their countries. There are also examples of how domestic capacities and capabilities can be strengthened to better understand and manage equity problems. For example, Chile has recently embarked on integrating health sector information systems in order to have more comprehensive information on determinants and to improve the ability to disaggregate information according to socioeconomic groups. Indonesia has added health modules to household expenditure and demographic surveys. Building in capabilities, across administrative database systems, to link health and socioeconomic data through unique identifi ers (national insurance numbers or census geo-codes) is key to socioeconomic stratifi cation and provides information that is usually inaccessible. However, this is more than a technical challenge. Measuring health systems’ progress towards equity requires an explicit deliberative process to identify what constitutes a fair distribution of health against shortfalls and gaps that can be measured

73

. It relies on the development of institutional collaboration between multiple stakeholders to ensure that measurement and monitoring translates into concrete political proposals for better equity and solidarity.

Creating space for civil society participation and empowerment

Knowledge about health inequalities can only be translated into political proposals if there is organized social demand. Demand from the communities that bear the burden of existing inequities and other concerned groups in civil society are among the most powerful motors driving universal coverage reforms and efforts to reach the unreached and the excluded.

The amount of grassroots advocacy to improve the health and welfare of populations in need has grown enormously in the last 30 years, mostly within countries, but also globally. There are now thousands of groups around the world, large and small, local and global, calling for action to improve the health of particularly deprived social groups or those suffering from specifi c health conditions. These groups, which were virtually non-existent in the days of the Alma-Ata, constitute a powerful voice of collective action.

Box 2.6

Social policy in the city of

Ghent, Belgium: how local authorities can support intersectoral collaboration between health and welfare organizations

76

In 2004, a regional government decree in Flanders, Belgium, institutionalized the direct participation of local stakeholders and citizens in intersectoral collaboration on social rights. This now applies at the level of cities and villages in the region. In one of these cities, Ghent, some 450 local actors of the health and welfare sector have been clustered in 11 thematic forums: legal help; support and security of minors; services for young people and adolescents; child care; ethnic cultural minorities; people with a handicap; the elderly; housing; work and employment; people living on a “critical income”; and health.

The local authorities facilitate and support the collaboration of the various organizations and sectors, for example, through the collection and monitoring of data, information and communication, access to services, and efforts to make services more pro-active. They are also responsible for networking between all the sectors with a view to improving coordination.

They pick up the signals, bottlenecks, proposals and plans, and are responsible for channelling them, if appropriate, to the province, region, federal state or the European Union for translation into relevant political decisions and legislation.

A steering committee reports directly to the city council and integrates the work of the 11 forums. The support of the administration and a permanent working party is critical for the sustainability and quality of the work in the different groups.

Participation of all stakeholders is particularly prominent in the health forum: it includes local hospitals, family physicians, primary-care services, pharmacists, mental health facilities, self-help groups, home care, health promotion agencies, academia sector, psychiatric home care, and community health centres.

This complex web of collaboration is showing results. Intersectoral coordination contributes to a more effi cient local social policy. For the period 2008–2013, four priority themes have been identifi ed in a bottom-up process: sustainable housing, access to health care, reduced thresholds to social rights, and optimization of growth and development. The yearly action plan operationalizes the policy through improvement projects in areas that include fi nancial access to health care, educational support, care for the homeless, and affordable and fl exible child care. Among the concrete realizations is the creation of Ghent’s “social house”, a network of service entry points situated in the different neighbourhoods of the city, where delivery of primary care is organized with special attention to the most vulnerable groups of people. The participating organizations report that the creation of the sectoral forums, in conjunction with the organization of intersectoral cooperation, has signifi cantly improved the way social determinants of health are tackled in the city.

35

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

The mobilization of groups and communities to address what they consider to be their most important health problems and health-related inequalities is a necessary complement to the more technocratic and top-down approach to assessing social inequalities and determining priorities for action.

Many of these groups have become capable lobbyists, for example, by gaining access to HIV/

AIDS treatment, abolishing user fees and promoting universal coverage. However, these achievements should not mask the contributions that the direct engagement of affected communities and civil society organizations can have in eliminating sources of exclusion within local health services. Costa Rica’s “bias-free framework” is one example among many. It has been used successfully to foster dialogue with and among members of vulnerable communities by uncovering local practices of exclusion and barriers to access not readily perceived by providers and by spurring action to address the underlying causes of illhealth. Concrete results, such as the reorganization of a maternity hospital around the people’s needs and expectations can transcend the local dimension, as was the case in Costa Rica when local reorganization was used as a template for a national effort

74

.

However, there is much the health system itself can do to mitigate the effects of social inequities and promote fairer access to health services at local level. Social participation in health action becomes a reality at the local level and, at times, it is there that intersectoral action most effectively engages the material and social factors that shape people’s health prospects, widening or reducing health equity gaps. One such example is the

Health Action Zones in the United Kingdom, which were partner-based entities whose mission was to improve the well-being of disadvantaged groups.

Another example is the work of the municipality of Barcelona, in Spain, where a set of interventions, including the reform of primary care, was followed by health improvements in a number of disadvantaged groups, showing that local governments can help reduce health inequities

75

.

Local action can also be the starting point for broader structural changes, if it feeds into relevant political decisions and legislation (Box 2.6).

Local health services have a critical role to play in this regard, as it is at this level that universal coverage and service delivery reforms meet. Primary care is the way of organizing health-care delivery that is best geared not only to improving health equity, but also to meeting people’s other basic needs and expectations.

36

Chapter 2.

Advancing and sustaining universal coverage

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38

Primary care

Putting people fi rst

This chapter describes how primary care brings promotion and prevention, cure and care together in a safe, effective and socially productive way at the interface between the population and the health system. In short, what needs to be done to

Chapter 3

achieve this is “to put people fi rst”: to give

Good care is about people

42

balanced consideration to health and well-

The distinctive features of primary care

43

being as well as to the values and capacities

Organizing primary-care networks

of the population and the health workers

1

.

52

56

The chapter starts by describing features of

Monitoring progress

in ensuring improved health and social outcomes.

41

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

These features are person-centredness, comprehensiveness and integration, and continuity of care, with a regular point of entry into the health system, so that it becomes possible to build an enduring relationship of trust between people and their health-care providers. The chapter then defi nes what this implies for the organization of health-care delivery: the necessary switch from specialized to generalist ambulatory care, with responsibility for a defi ned population and the ability to coordinate support from hospitals, specialized services and civil society organizations.

Good care is about people

Biomedical science is, and should be, at the heart of modern medicine. Yet, as William Osler, one of its founders, pointed out, “it is much more important to know what sort of patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has”

2

. Insuffi cient recognition of the human dimension in health and of the need to tailor the health service’s response to the specifi city of each community and individual situation represent major shortcomings in contemporary health care, resulting not only in inequity and poor social outcomes, but also diminishing the health outcome returns on the investment in health services.

Putting people fi rst, the focus of service delivery reforms is not a trivial principle. It can require signifi cant – even if often simple – departures from business as usual. The reorganization of a medical centre in Alaska in the United States, accommodating 45 000 patient contacts per year, illustrates how far-reaching the effects can be.

The centre functioned to no great satisfaction of either staff or clients until it decided to establish a direct relationship between each individual and family in the community and a specifi c staff member

3

. The staff were then in a position to know “their” patients’ medical history and understand their personal and family situation. People were in a position to get to know and trust their health-care provider: they no longer had to deal with an institution but with their personal caregiver. Complaints about compartmentalized and fragmented services abated

4

. Emergency room visits were reduced by approximately 50% and referrals to specialty care by 30%; waiting times shortened signifi cantly. With fewer “rebound” visits for unresolved health problems, the workload actually decreased and staff job satisfaction improved. Most importantly, people felt that they were being listened to and respected – a key aspect of what people value about health care

5,6

. A slow bureaucratic system was thus transformed into one that is customer-responsive, customerowned and customer-driven

4

.

In a very different setting, the health centres of Ouallam, a rural district in Niger, implemented an equally straightforward reorganization of their way of working in order to put people fi rst.

Rather than the traditional morning curative care consultation and specialized afternoon clinics

(growth monitoring, family planning, etc.), the full range of services was offered at all times, while the nurses were instructed to engage in an active dialogue with their patients. For example, they no longer waited for women to ask for contraceptives, but informed them, at every contact, about the range of services available. Within a few months, the very low uptake of family planning, previously attributed to cultural constraints, was a thing of the past (Figure 3.1)

7

.

People’s experiences of care provided by the health system are determined fi rst and foremost by the way they are treated when they experience a problem and look for help: by the responsiveness of the health-worker interface between population

Figure 3.1

The effect on uptake of contraception of the reorganization of work schedules of rural health centres in Niger

Women attending the health centre (%)

100

Informed Interested Contraception started

80

60

40

20

0

Source:

7

Year before reorganization Year after reorganization

42

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

and health services. People value some freedom in choosing a health provider because they want one they can trust and who will attend to them promptly and in an adequate environment, with respect and confi dentiality

8

.

Health-care delivery can be made more effective by making it more considerate and convenient, as in Ouallam district. However, primary care is about more than shortening waiting times, adapting opening hours or getting staff to be more polite. Health workers have to care for people throughout the course of their lives, as individuals and as members of a family and a community whose health must be protected and enhanced

9

, and not merely as body parts with symptoms or disorders that require treating

10

.

The service delivery reforms advocated by the

PHC movement aim to put people at the centre of health care, so as to make services more effective, effi cient and equitable. Health services that do this start from a close and direct relationship between individuals and communities and their caregivers. This, then, provides the basis for person-centredness, continuity, comprehensiveness and integration, which constitute the distinctive features of primary care. Table 3.1 summarizes the differences between primary care and care provided in conventional settings, such as in clinics or hospital outpatient departments, or through the disease control programmes that shape many health services in resource-limited settings. The section that follows reviews these defi ning features of primary care, and describes how they contribute to better health and social outcomes.

The distinctive features of primary care

Effectiveness and safety are not just technical matters

Health care should be effective and safe. Professionals as well as the general public often over-rate the performance of their health services. The emergence of evidence-based medicine in the 1980s has helped to bring the power and discipline of scientifi c evidence to healthcare decision-making

11

, while still taking into consideration patient values and preferences

12

.

Over the last decade, several hundred reviews of

Table 3.1

Aspects of care that distinguish conventional health care from people-centred primary care

Conventional ambulatory medical care in clinics or outpatient departments

Focus on illness and cure

Disease control programmes

Focus on priority diseases

People-centred primary care

Focus on health needs

Relationship limited to the moment of consultation

Relationship limited to programme implementation

Enduring personal relationship

Episodic curative care

Responsibility limited to effective and safe advice to the patient at the moment of consultation

Users are consumers of the care they purchase

Programme-defi ned disease control interventions

Responsibility for disease-control targets among the target population

Population groups are targets of disease-control interventions

Comprehensive, continuous and personcentred care

Responsibility for the health of all in the community along the life cycle; responsibility for tackling determinants of ill-health

People are partners in managing their own health and that of their community

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The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

effectiveness have been conducted

13

, which have led to better information on the choices available to health practitioners when caring for their patients.

Evidence-based medicine, however, cannot in itself ensure that health care is effective and safe. Growing awareness of the multiple ways in which care may be compromised is contributing to a gradual rise in standards of quality and safety (Box 3.1). Thus far, however, such efforts have concentrated disproportionately on hospital and specialist care, mainly in high- and middleincome countries. The effectiveness and safety of generalist ambulatory care, where most interactions between people and health services take place, has been given much less attention

14

. This is a particularly important issue in the unregulated commercial settings of many developing

Box 3.1

Towards a science and culture of improvement: evidence to promote patient safety and better outcomes

The outcome of health care results from the balance between the added value of treatment or intervention, and the harm it causes to the patient

16

. Until recently, the extent of such harm has been underestimated. In industrialized countries, approximately 1 in 10 patients suffers harm caused by avoidable adverse events while receiving care

17

: up to 98 000 deaths per year are caused by such events in the United States alone

18

.

Multiple factors contribute to this situation

19

, ranging from systemic faults to problems of competence, social pressure on patients to undergo risky procedures, to incorrect technology usage

20

. For example, almost 40% of the 16 billion injections administered worldwide each year are given with syringes and needles that are reused without sterilization

14

. Each year, unsafe injections thus cause 1.3 million deaths and almost 26 million years of life lost, mainly because of transmission of hepatitis B and C, and HIV

21

.

Especially disquieting is the paucity of information on the extent and determinants of unsafe care in low- and middleincome countries. With unregulated commercialization of care, weaker quality control and health resource limitations, healthcare users in low-income countries may well be even more exposed to the risk of unintended patient harm than patients in high-income countries. The World Alliance for Patient Safety

22

, among others, advocates making patients safer through systemic interventions and a change in organizational culture rather than through the denunciation of individual health-care practitioners or administrators

23

. countries where people often get poor value for money (Box 3.2)

15

.

Technical and safety parameters are not the only determinants of the outcomes of health care.

The disappointingly low success rate in preventing mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in a study in the Côte d’Ivoire (Figure 3.2) illustrates that other features of the organization of health care are equally critical – good drugs are

Box 3.2

When supplier-induced and consumer-driven demand determine medical advice: ambulatory care in India

“Ms. S is a typical patient who lives in urban Delhi. There are over 70 private-sector medical care providers within a

15-minute walk from her house (and virtually any household in her city). She chooses the private clinic run by Dr. SM and his wife. Above the clinic a prominent sign says “Ms. MM,

Gold Medalist, MBBS”, suggesting that the clinic is staffed by a highly profi cient doctor (an MBBS is the basic degree for a medical doctor as in the British 2 system). As it turns out, Ms.

MM is rarely at the clinic. We were told that she sometimes comes at 4 a.m. to avoid the long lines that form if people know she is there. We later discover that she has “franchised” her name to a number of different clinics. Therefore, Ms. S sees

Dr. SM and his wife, both of whom were trained in traditional

Ayurvedic medicine through a six-month long-distance course.

The doctor and his wife sit at a small table surrounded, on one side, by a large number of bottles full of pills, and on the other, a bench with patients on them, which extends into the street.

Ms. S sits at the end of this bench. Dr. SM and his wife are the most popular medical care providers in the neighbourhood, with more than 200 patients every day. The doctor spends an average of 3.5 minutes with each patient, asks 3.2 questions, and performs an average of 2.5 examinations. Following the diagnosis, the doctor takes two or three different pills, crushes them using a mortar and pestle, and makes small paper packets from the resulting powder which he gives to Ms. S and asks her to take for two or three days. These medicines usually include one antibiotic and one analgesic and anti-infl ammatory drug. Dr. SM tells us that he constantly faces unrealistic patient expectations, both because of the high volume of patients and their demands for treatments that even Dr. SM knows are inappropriate. Dr. SM and his wife seem highly motivated to provide care to their patients and even with a very crowded consultation room they spend more time with their patients than a public sector doctor would. However, they are not bound by their knowledge […] and instead deliver health care like the crushed pills in a paper packet, which will result in more patients willing to pay more for their services”

24

.

44

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

not enough. How services deal with people is also vitally important. Surveys in Australia, Canada,

Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States show that a high number of patients report safety risks, poor care coordination and defi ciencies in care for chronic conditions

25

. Communication is often inadequate and lacking in information on treatment schedules.

Nearly one in every two patients feels that doctors only rarely or never asked their opinion about treatment. Patients may consult different providers for related or even for the same conditions which, given the lack of coordination among these providers, results in duplication and contradictions

25

. This situation is similar to that reported in other countries, such as Ethiopia

26

, Pakistan

27

and Zimbabwe

28

.

There has, however, been progress in recent years. In high-income countries, confrontation with chronic disease, mental health problems, multi-morbidity and the social dimension of disease has focused attention on the need for more comprehensive and person-centred approaches and continuity of care. This resulted not only from client pressure, but also from professionals who realized the critical importance of such

Figure 3.2

Lost opportunities for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) in

462 mother-to-child transmissions of HIV

(expected among 11 582 pregnant women)

Mother attends antenatal care

HIV testing offered

Counselling recommends treatment

Consent obtained

Treatment offered

Treatment taken

Did not attend antenatal care

Did not accept test

Lack of coverage:

77 lost

Bad communication:

107 lost

Were not counselled

Lack of follow-up:

153 lost

Did not agree to be treated

Did not get the treatment

Bad communication:

50 lost

Access to drugs: 40 lost

Treatment ineffective

23 lost

12 mother-to-child transmissions

Treatment effective

successfully prevented

450 failures to prevent transmission

45

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

46 features of care in achieving better outcomes for their patients. Many health professionals have begun to appreciate the limitations of narrow clinical approaches, for example, to cardiovascular disease. As a result there has been a welcome blurring of the traditional boundaries between curative care, preventive medicine and health promotion.

In low-income countries, this evolution is also visible. In recent years, many of the programmes targeting infectious disease priorities have given careful consideration to comprehensiveness, continuity and patient-centredness. Maternal and child health services have often been at the forefront of these attempts, organizing a continuum of care and a comprehensive approach.

This process has been consolidated through the joint UNICEF/WHO Integrated Management of

Childhood Illness initiatives

30

. Their experience with programmes such as the WHO’s Extended

Programme for Immunization has put health professionals in many developing countries a step ahead compared to their high-income country colleagues, as they more readily see themselves responsible not just for patients, but also for population coverage. More recently, HIV/AIDS programmes have drawn the attention of providers and policy-makers to the importance of counselling, continuity of care, the complementarity of prevention, treatment and palliation and critically, to the value of empathy and listening to patients.

Understanding people: person-centred care

When people are sick they are a great deal less concerned about managerial considerations of productivity, health targets, cost-effectiveness and rational organization than about their own predicament. Each individual has his or her own way of experiencing and coping with health problems within their specifi c life circumstances

31

.

Health workers have to be able to handle that diversity. For health workers at the interface between the population and the health services, the challenge is much more complicated than for a specialized referral service: managing a welldefi ned disease is a relatively straightforward technical challenge. Dealing with health problems, however, is complicated as people need to be understood holistically: their physical, emotional and social concerns, their past and their future, and the realities of the world in which they live. Failure to deal with the whole person in their specifi c familial and community contexts misses out on important aspects of health that do not immediately fi t into disease categories. Partner violence against women (Box 3.3), for example, can be detected, prevented or mitigated by health services that are suffi ciently close to the communities they serve and by health workers who know the people in their community.

People want to know that their health worker understands them, their suffering and the constraints they face. Unfortunately, many providers neglect this aspect of the therapeutic relation, particularly when they are dealing with disadvantaged groups. In many health services, responsiveness and person-centredness are treated as luxury goods to be handed out only to a selected few.

Over the last 30 years, a considerable body of research evidence has shown that personcentredness is not only important to relieve the patient’s anxiety but also to improve the provider’s job satisfaction

50

. The response to a health problem is more likely to be effective if the provider understands its various dimensions

51

. For a start, simply asking patients how they feel about their illness, how it affects their lives, rather than focusing only on the disease, results in measurably increased trust and compliance

52

that allows patient and provider to fi nd a common ground on clinical management, and facilitates the integration of prevention and health promotion in the therapeutic response

50,51

.

Thus, person-centredness becomes the “clinical method of participatory democracy”

53

, measurably improving the quality of care, the success of treatment and the quality of life of those benefi ting from such care (Table 3.2).

In practice, clinicians rarely address their patients’ concerns, beliefs and understanding of illness, and seldom share problem management options with them

58

. They limit themselves to simple technical prescriptions, ignoring the complex human dimensions that are critical to the appropriateness and effectiveness of the care they provide

59

.

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

Box 3.3

The health-care response to partner violence against women

Intimate partner violence has numerous well-documented consequences for women’s health (and for the health of their children), including injuries, chronic pain syndromes, unintended and unwanted pregnancies, pregnancy complications, sexually transmitted infections and a wide range of mental health problems

32,33,34,35,36,37

.

Women suffering from violence are frequent health-care users

38,39

.

Health workers are, therefore, well placed to identify and provide care to the victims of violence, including referral for psychosocial, legal and other support. Their interventions can reduce the impact of violence on a woman’s health and well-being, and that of her children, and can also help prevent further violence.

Research has shown that most women think health-care providers should ask about violence

40

. While they do not expect them to solve their problem, they would like to be listened to and treated in a non-judgemental way and get the support they need to take control over their decisions. Health-care providers often fi nd it diffi cult to ask women about violence. They lack the time and the training and skills to do it properly, and are reluctant to be involved in judicial proceedings.

The most effective approach for health providers to use when responding to violence is still a matter of debate

41

. They are generally advised to ask all women about intimate partner abuse as a routine part of any health assessment, usually referred to as “screening” or routine enquiry

42

. Several reviews found that this technique increased the rate of identifi cation of women experiencing violence in antenatal and primary-care clinics, but there was little evidence that this was sustained

40

, or was effective in terms of health outcomes

43

.

Among women who have stayed in shelters, there is evidence that those who received a specifi c counselling and advocacy service reported a lower rate of re-abuse and an improved quality of life

44

. Similarly, among women experiencing violence during pregnancy, those who received “empowerment counselling” reported improved functioning and less psychological and non-severe physical abuse, and had lower postnatal depression scores

45

.

While there is still no consensus on the most effective strategy, there is growing agreement that health services should aim to identify and support women experiencing violence

46

, and that health-care providers should be well educated about these issues, as they are essential in building capacity and skills. Health-care providers should, as a minimum, be informed about violence against women, its prevalence and impact on health, when to suspect it and how to best respond. Clearly, there are technical dimensions to this. For example, in the case of sexual assault, providers need to be able to provide the necessary treatment and care, including provision of emergency contraception and prophylaxis for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV where relevant, as well as psychosocial support. There are other dimensions too: health workers need to be able to document any injuries as completely and carefully as possible

47,48,49

and they need to know how to work with communities – in particular with men and boys – on changing attitudes and practices related to gender inequality and violence.

Table 3.2

Person-centredness: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Improved treatment intensity and quality of life − Ferrer

(2005)

54

Better understanding of the psychological aspects of a patient's problems − Gulbrandsen (1997)

55

Improved satisfaction with communication −

Jaturapatporn (2007)

56

Improved patient confi dence regarding sensitive problems − Kovess-Masféty (2007)

57

Increased trust and treatment compliance − Fiscella

(2004)

52

Better integration of preventive and promotive care −

Mead (1982)

50

Thus, technical advice on lifestyle, treatment schedule or referral all too often neglects not only the constraints of the environment in which people live, but also their potential for selfhelp in dealing with a host of health problems ranging from diarrhoeal disease

60

to diabetes management

61

. Yet, neither the nurse in Niger’s rural health centre nor the general practitioner in Belgium can, for example, refer a patient to hospital without negotiating

62,63

: along with medical criteria, they have to take into account the patient’s values, the family’s values, and their lifestyle and life perspective

64

.

Few health providers have been trained for person-centred care. Lack of proper preparation is compounded by cross-cultural confl icts, social stratifi cation, discrimination and stigma

63

. As a consequence, the considerable potential of people to contribute to their own health through lifestyle, behaviour and self-care, and by adapting

47

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

48

Box 3.4

Empowering users to contribute to their own health

Families can be empowered to make choices that are relevant to their health. Birth and emergency plans

66

, for example, are based on a joint examination between the expectant mother and health staff − well before the birth − of her expectations regarding childbirth.

Issues discussed include where the birth will take place, and how support for care of the home and any other children will be organized while the woman is giving birth. The discussion can cover planning for expenses, arrangements for transport and medical supplies, as well as identifi cation of a compatible blood donor in case of haemorrhage. Such birth plans are being implemented in countries as diverse as Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the United Republic of Tanzania. They constitute one example of how people can participate in decisions relating to their health in a way that empowers them

67

. Empowerment strategies can improve health and social outcomes through several pathways; the condition for success is that they are embedded in local contexts and based on a strong and direct relationship between people and their health workers

68

. The strategies can relate to a variety of areas, as shown below:

Q

Q

Q developing household capacities to stay healthy, make healthy decisions and respond to emergencies − France’s self-help organization of diabetics

69

, South Africa’s family empowerment and parent training programmes

70

treatment plans for safe motherhood

71

, the United Republic of Tanzania’s negotiated increasing citizens’ awareness of their rights, needs and potential problems − Chile’s information on entitlements

73

and Thailand’s

Declaration of Patients’ Rights

74

;

, and Mexico’s active ageing programme

72

; strengthening linkages for social support within communities and with the health system − support and advice to family caregivers dealing with dementia in developing country settings behaviour

76

75

, Bangladesh’s rural credit programmes and their impact on care-seeking

, and Lebanon’s neighbourhood environment initiatives

77

.

professional advice optimally to their life circumstances is underutilized. There are numerous, albeit often missed, opportunities to empower people to participate in decisions that affect their own health and that of their families (Box

3.4). They require health-care providers who can relate to people and assist them in making informed choices. The current payment systems and incentives in community health-care delivery often work against establishing this type of dialogue

65

. Confl icts of interest between provider and patient, particularly in unregulated commercial settings, are a major disincentive to personcentred care. Commercial providers may be more courteous and client-friendly than in the average health centre, but this is no substitute for personcentredness.

fi rst present their problem, that the need for a comprehensive and integrated offer of care is most critical.

Comprehensiveness makes managerial and operational sense and adds value (Table 3.3).

People take up services more readily if they know a comprehensive spectrum of care is on offer.

Moreover, it maximizes opportunities for preventive care and health promotion while reducing unnecessary reliance on specialized or hospital care

81

. Specialization has its comforts, but the fragmentation it induces is often visibly counterproductive and ineffi cient: it makes no sense to monitor the growth of children and neglect the health of their mothers (and vice versa), or to treat someone’s tuberculosis without considering their

HIV status or whether they smoke.

Comprehensive and integrated responses

The diversity of health needs and challenges that people face does not fi t neatly into the discrete diagnostic categories of textbook promotive, preventive, curative or rehabilitative care

78,79

. They call for the mobilization of a comprehensive range of resources that may include health promotion and prevention interventions as well as diagnosis and treatment or referral, chronic or long-term home care, and, in some models, social services

80

.

It is at the entry point of the system, where people

Table 3.3

Comprehensiveness: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Better health outcomes − Forrest (1996)

82

, Chande

(1996)

83

, Starfi eld (1998)

84

Increased uptake of disease-focused preventive care

(e.g. blood pressure screen, mammograms, pap smears)

− Bindman (1996)

85

Fewer patients admitted for preventable complications of chronic conditions − Shea (1992)

86

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

That does not mean that entry-point health workers should solve all the health problems that are presented there, nor that all health programmes always need to be delivered through a single integrated service-delivery point. Nevertheless, the primary-care team has to be able to respond to the bulk of health problems in the community. When it cannot do so, it has to be able to mobilize other resources, by referring or by calling for support from specialists, hospitals, specialized diagnostic and treatment centres, public-health programmes, long-term care services, home-care or social services, or self-help and other community organizations. This cannot mean giving up responsibility: the primary-care team remains responsible for helping people to navigate this complex environment.

Comprehensive and integrated care for the bulk of the assorted health problems in the community is more effi cient than relying on separate services for selected problems, partly because it leads to a better knowledge of the population and builds greater trust. One activity reinforces the other. Health services that offer a comprehensive range of services increase the uptake and coverage of, for example, preventive programmes, such as cancer screening or vaccination (Figure 3.3).

They prevent complications and improve health outcomes.

Comprehesive services also facilitate early detection and prevention of problems, even in the absence of explicit demand. There are individuals and groups who could benefi t from care even if they express no explicit spontaneous demand, as in the case of women attending the health centres in Ouallam district, Niger, or people with undiagnosed high blood pressure or depression. Early detection of disease, preventive care to reduce the incidence of poor health, health promotion to reduce risky behaviour, and addressing social and other determinants of health all require the health service to take the initiative. For many problems, local health workers are the only ones who are in a position to effectively address problems in the community: they are the only ones, for example, in a position to assist parents with care in early childhood development, itself an important determinant of later health, well-being and productivity

87

. Such interventions require proactive health teams offering a comprehensive range of services. They depend on a close and trusting relationship between the health services and the communities they serve, and, thus, on health workers who know the people in their community

88

.

Continuity of care

Understanding people and the context in which they live is not only important in order to provide a comprehensive, person-centred response, it also conditions continuity of care. Providers often behave as if their responsibility starts when a patient walks in and ends when they leave the premises. Care should not, however, be limited to the moment a patient consults nor be confi ned to the four walls of the consultation room. Concern for outcomes mandates a consistent and coherent approach to the management of the patient’s problem, until the problem is resolved or the risk that justifi ed follow-up has disappeared. Continuity of care is an important determinant of effectiveness, whether for chronic disease management, reproductive health, mental health or for making sure children grow up healthily (Table 3.4).

Figure 3.3

More comprehensive health centres have better

DPT3 vaccination coverage (%)

Democratic Republic of the Congo

(380 health centres, 2004)

Madagascar (534 health centres, 2006)

Weighted average of coverage in each country quintile

Rwanda (313 health centres, 1999)

120

100

80

60

40

20 c

0

20% health centres with lowest overall performance

Quintile 2 Quintile 3 Quintile 4 20% health centres with highest overall performance

Facility performance score a Total 1227 health centres, covering a population of 16 million people.

b Vaccination coverage was not included in the assessment of overall health-centre performance across a range of services.

c Includes vaccination of children not belonging to target population.

49

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Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

Table 3.4

(1998)

91

Better access to care − Weinick (2000)

(1998)

95

(2004)

97

Continuity of care: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Lower all-cause mortality − Shi (2003)

, Villalbi (1999)

92

, PAHO (2005) interventions − Rothwell (2005)

99

90

93

94

, Franks

, Forrest

Less re-hospitalization − Weinberger (1996)

96

Fewer consultations with specialists − Woodward

Less use of emergency services − Gill (2000)

98

Better detection of adverse effects of medical

, Kravitz (2004)

100

Continuity of care depends on ensuring continuity of information as people get older, when they move from one residence to another, or when different professionals interact with one particular individual or household. Access to medical records and discharge summaries, electronic, conventional or client-held, improves the choice of the course of treatment and of coordination of care. In Canada, for example, one in seven people attending an emergency department had medical information missing that was very likely to result in patient harm

101

. Missing information is a common cause of delayed care and uptake of unnecessary services

102

. In the United States, it is associated with 15.6% of all reported errors in ambulatory care

103

. Today’s information and communication technologies, albeit underutilized, gives unprecedented possibilities to improve the circulation of medical information at an affordable cost

104

, thus enhancing continuity, safety and learning (Box 3.5). Moreover, it is no longer the exclusive privilege of high-resource environments, as the Open Medical Record System demonstrates: electronic health records developed through communities of practice and open-source software are facilitating continuity and quality of care for patients with HIV/AIDS in many low-income countries

105

.

Better patient records are necessary but not suffi cient. Health services need to make active efforts to minimize the numerous obstacles to continuity of care. Compared to payment by capitation or by fee-for-episode, out-of-pocket fee-for-service payment is a common deterrent, not only to access, but also to continuity of care

107

.

In Singapore, for example, patients were formerly not allowed to use their health savings account

(Medisave) for outpatient treatment, resulting in patient delays and lack of treatment compliance for the chronically ill. This had become so problematic that regulations were changed. Hospitals are now encouraged to transfer patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid disorder and stroke to registered general practitioners, with Medisave accounts covering ambulatory care

108

.

Other barriers to continuity include treatment schedules requiring frequent clinic attendance that carry a heavy cost in time, travel expenses or lost wages. They may be ill-understood and patient motivation may be lacking. Patients may get lost in the complicated institutional environment of referral hospitals or social services. Such problems need to be anticipated and recognized at an early stage. The effort required from health workers is not negligible: negotiating the modalities of the treatment schedule with the patients so as to maximize the chances that it can be completed; keeping registries of clients with chronic conditions; and creating communication channels through home visits, liaison with community workers, telephonic reminders and text messages to re-establish interrupted continuity.

These mundane tasks often make the difference between a successful outcome and a treatment failure, but are rarely rewarded. They are much easier to implement when patient and caregiver have clearly identifi ed how and by whom followup will be organized.

A regular and trusted provider as entry point

Comprehensiveness, continuity and person-centredness are critical to better health outcomes.

They all depend on a stable, long-term, personal relationship (a featu re also cal led

“longitudinality”

84

) between the population and the professionals who are their entry point to the health system.

Most ambulatory care in conventional settings is not organized to build such relationships. The

50

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

busy, anonymous and technical environment of hospital outpatient departments, with their many specialists and sub-specialists, produce mechanical interactions between nameless individuals and an institution – not people-centred care.

Smaller clinics are less anonymous, but the care they provide is often more akin to a commercial or administrative transaction that starts and ends with the consultation than to a responsive problem-solving exercise. In this regard, private clinics do not perform differently than public health centres

64

. In the rural areas of low-income countries, governmental health centres are usually designed to work in close relationship with the community they serve. The reality is often different. Earmarking of resources and staff for selected programmes is increasingly leading to fragmentation

109

, while the lack of funds, the pauperization of the health staff and rampant commercialization makes building such relationships diffi cult

110

. There are many examples to the contrary, but the relationship between providers and their clients, particularly the poorer ones, is often not conducive to building relationships of understanding, empathy and trust

62

.

Building enduring relationships requires time.

Studies indicate that it takes two to fi ve years before its full potential is achieved

84

but, as the

Alaska health centre mentioned at the beginning of this chapter shows, it drastically changes the way care is being provided. Access to the same team of health-care providers over time fosters the development of a relationship of trust between the individual and their health-care provider

97,111,112

. Health professionals are more likely to respect and understand patients they know

Box 3.5

Using information and communication technologies to improve access, quality and effi ciency in primary care

Information and communication technologies enable people in remote and underserved areas to have access to services and expertise otherwise unavailable to them, especially in countries with uneven distribution or chronic shortages of physicians, nurses and health technicians or where access to facilities and expert advice requires travel over long distances. In such contexts, the goal of improved access to health care has stimulated the adoption of technology for remote diagnosis, monitoring and consultation. Experience in Chile of immediate transmission of electrocardiograms in cases of suspected myocardial infarction is a noteworthy example: examination is carried out in an ambulatory setting and the data are sent to a national centre where specialists confi rm the diagnosis via fax or e-mail. This technology-facilitated consultation with experts allows rapid response and appropriate treatment where previously it was unavailable. The Internet is a key factor in its success, as is the telephone connectivity that has been made available to all health facilities in the country.

A further benefi t of using information and communication technologies in primary-care services is the improved quality of care. Healthcare providers are not only striving to deliver more effective care, they are also striving to deliver safer care. Tools, such as electronic health records, computerized prescribing systems and clinical decision aids, support practitioners in providing safer care in a range of settings. For example, in a village in western Kenya, electronic health records integrated with laboratory, drug procurement and reporting systems have drastically reduced clerical labour and errors, and have improved follow-up care.

As the costs of delivering health care continue to rise, information and communication technologies provide new avenues for personalized, citizen-centred and home-centred care. Towards this end, there has been signifi cant investment in research and development of consumer-friendly applications. In Cape Town, South Africa, an “on cue compliance service” takes the names and mobile telephone numbers of patients with tuberculosis (supplied by a clinic) and enters them into a database. Every half an hour, the on cue server reads the database and sends personalized SMS messages to the patients, reminding them to take their medication. The technology is low-cost and robust. Cure and completion rates are similar to those of patients receiving clinic-based DOTS, but at lower cost to both clinic and patient, and in a way that interferes much less with everyday life than the visits to the clinic

106

. In the same concept of supporting lifestyles linked to primary care, network devices have become a key element of an innovative community programme in the Netherlands, where monitoring and communication devices are built into smart apartments for senior citizens. This system reduces clinic visits and facilitates living independently with chronic diseases that require frequent checks and adjustment of medications.

Many clinicians who want to promote health and prevent illness are placing high hopes in the Internet as the place to go for health advice to complement or replace the need to seek the advice of a health professional. New applications, services and access to information have permanently altered the relationships between consumers and health professionals, putting knowledge directly into people’s own hands.

51

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Now More Than Ever

Table 3.5

Regular entry point: evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes

Increased satisfaction with services − Weiss (1996)

116

,

Rosenblatt (1998)

117

, Freeman (1997)

124

, Miller (2000)

125

Better compliance and lower hospitalization rate − Weiss

(1996)

116

, Rosenblatt (1998)

117

, Freeman (1997)

124

,

Mainous (1998)

126

Less use of specialists and emergency services −

Starfi eld (1998)

82

, Parchman (1994)

127

, Hurley (1989)

128

,

Martin (1989)

129

, Gadomski (1998)

130

Fewer consultations with specialists − Hurley (1989)

128

,

Martin (1989)

129

More effi cient use of resources − Forrest (1996)

82

,

Forrest (1998)

95

, Hjortdahl (1991)

131

, Roos (1998)

132

Better understanding of the psychological aspects of a patient's problem − Gulbrandsen (1997)

55

Better uptake of preventive care by adolescents − Ryan

(2001)

133

Protection against over-treatment − Schoen (2007)

134

well, which creates more positive interaction and better communication

113

. They can more readily understand and anticipate obstacles to continuity of care, follow up on the progress and assess how the experience of illness or disability is affecting the individual’s daily life. More mindful of the circumstances in which people live, they can tailor care to the specifi c needs of the person and recognize health problems at earlier stages.

This is not merely a question of building trust and patient satisfaction, however important these may be

114,115

. It is worthwhile because it leads to better quality and better outcomes (Table 3.5).

People who use the same source of care for most of their health-care needs tend to comply better with advice given, rely less on emergency services, require less hospitalization and are more satisfi ed with care

98 116,117,118

. Providers save consultation time, reduce the use of laboratory tests and costs

95,119,120

, and increase uptake of preventive care

121

. Motivation improves through the social recognition built up by such relationships.

Still, even dedicated health professionals will not seize all these opportunities spontaneously

122,123

.

The interface between the population and their health services needs to be designed in a way that not only makes this possible, but also the most likely course of action.

Organizing primary-care networks

A health service that provides entry point ambulatory care for health- and health-related problems should, thus, offer a comprehensive range of integrated diagnostic, curative, rehabilitative and palliative services. In contrast to most conventional health-care delivery models, the offer of services should include prevention and promotion as well as efforts to tackle determinants of ill-health locally. A direct and enduring relationship between the provider and the people in the community served is essential to be able to take into account the personal and social context of patients and their families, ensuring continuity of care over time as well as across services.

In order for conventional health services to be transformed into primary care, i.e. to ensure that these distinctive features get due prominence, they must reorganized. A precondition is to ensure that they become directly and permanently accessible, without undue reliance on out-of-pocket payments and with social protection offered by universal coverage schemes. But another set of arrangements is critical for the transformation of conventional care – ambulatory- and institution-based, generalist and specialist – into local networks of primary-care centres

135,136,137,138,139,140

:

Q

Q bringing care closer to people, in settings in close proximity and direct relationship with the community, relocating the entry point to the health system from hospitals and specialists to close-to-client generalist primary-care centres; giving primary-care providers the responsibility for the health of a defi ned population, in its

Q entirety: the sick and the healthy, those who choose to consult the services and those who choose not to do so; strengthening primary-care providers’ role as coordinators of the inputs of other levels of care by giving them administrative authority and purchasing power.

52

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

Figure 3.4

Bringing care closer to the people

A fi rst step is to relocate the entry point to the health system from specialized clinics, hospital outpatient departments and emergency services, to generalist ambulatory care in close-to-client settings. Evidence has been accumulating that this transfer carries measurable benefi ts in terms of relief from suffering, prevention of illness and death, and improved health equity. These fi ndings hold true in both national and cross-national studies, even if all of the distinguishing features of primary care are not fully realized

31

.

Generalist ambulatory care is more likely or as likely to identify common life-threatening conditions as specialist care

141,142

. Generalists adhere to clinical practice guidelines to the same extent as specialists

143

, although they are slower to adopt them

144,145

. They prescribe fewer invasive interventions

146,147,148,149

, fewer and shorter hospitalizations

127,133,149

and have a greater focus on preventive care

133,150

. This results in lower overall health-care costs

82

for similar health outcomes

146,151,152,153,154,155

and greater patient satisfaction

125,150,156

. Evidence from comparisons between high-income countries shows that higher proportions of generalist professionals working in ambulatory settings are associated with lower overall costs and higher quality rankings

157

.

Conversely, countries that increase reliance on specialists have stagnating or declining health outcomes when measured at the population

Inappropriate investigations prescribed for simulated patients presenting with a minor stomach complaint, Thailand a,b,

162

Patients for whom inappropriate investigations were prescribed (%) level, while fragmentation of care exacerbates user dissatisfaction and contributes to a growing divide between health and social services

157,158,159

.

Information on low- and middle-income countries is harder to obtain

160

, but there are indications that patterns are similar. Some studies estimate that in Latin America and the Caribbean more reliance on generalist care could avoid one out of two hospital admissions

161

. In Thailand, generalist ambulatory care outside a hospital context has been shown to be more patient-centred and responsive as well as cheaper and less inclined to over-medicalization

162

(Figure 3.4).

The relocation of the entry point into the system from specialist hospital to generalist ambulatory care creates the conditions for more comprehensiveness, continuity and person-centredness.

This amplifi es the benefi ts of the relocation. It is particularly the case when services are organized as a dense network of small, close-to-client service delivery points. This makes it easier to have teams that are small enough to know their communities and be known by them, and stable enough to establish an enduring relationship.

These teams require relational and organizational capacities as much as the technical competencies to solve the bulk of health problems locally.

60

40

20

Biopsy

X-ray

Gastroscopy

Gastroscopy + X-ray

0

Public health centre, general practitioner

(US $ 5.7) b

Private clinic, general practitioner

(US $ 11.1) b

Private clinic, specialist

( US $ 16.4) b

Public hospital, outpatient department

(US $15.2) b

Private hospital, outpatient department (US $ 43.7) b a

Observation made in 2000, before introduction of Thailand’s universal coverage scheme.

b

Cost to the patient, including doctor’s fees, drugs, laboratory and technical investigations.

Responsibility for a well-identifi ed population

In conventional ambulatory care, the provider assumes responsibility for the person attending the consultation for the duration of the consultation and, in the best of circumstances, that responsibility extends to ensuring continuity of care. This passive, response-to-demand approach fails to help a considerable number of people who could benefi t from care. There are people who, for various reasons, are, or feel, excluded from access to services and do not take up care even when they are in need. There are people who suffer illness but delay seeking care. Others present risk factors and could benefi t from screening or prevention programmes (e.g. for cervical cancer or for childhood obesity), but are left out because they do not consult: preventive services that are limited to service users often leave out those most in need

163

. A passive, response-to-demand

53

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

approach has a second untoward consequence: it lacks the ambition to deal with local determinants of ill-health – whether social, environmental or work-related. All this represents lost opportunities for generating health: providers that only assume responsibility for their customers concentrate on repairing rather than on maintaining and promoting health.

The alternative is to entrust each primary-care team with the explicit responsibility for a welldefi ned community or population. They can then be held accountable, through administrative measures or contractual arrangements, for providing comprehensive, continuous and person-centred care to that population, and for mobilizing a comprehensive range of support services – from promotive through to palliative. The simplest way of assigning responsibility is to identify the community served on the basis of geographical criteria – the classic approach in rural areas. The simplicity of geographical assignment, however, is deceptive. It follows an administrative, public sector logic that often has problems adapting to the emergence of a multitude of other providers.

Furthermore, administrative geography may not coincide with sociological reality, especially in urban areas. People move around and may work in a different area than where they live, making the health unit closest to home actually an inconvenient source of care. More importantly, people value choice and may resent an administrative assignment to a particular health unit. Some countries fi nd geographical criteria of proximity the most appropriate to defi ne who fi ts in the population of responsibility, others rely on active registration or patient lists. The important point is not how but whether the population is well identifi ed and mechanisms exist to ensure that nobody is left out.

Once such explicit comprehensive responsibilities for the health of a well-identifi ed and defi ned population are assigned, with the related fi nancial and administrative accountability mechanisms, the rules change.

Q

The primary-care team has to broaden the portfolio of care it offers, developing activities and programmes that can improve outcomes, but which they might otherwise neglect

164

. This sets the stage for investment in prevention and

Q

Q promotion activities, and for venturing into areas that are often overlooked, such as health in schools and in the workplace. It forces the primary-care team to reach out to and work with organizations and individuals within the community: volunteers and community health workers who act as the liaison with patients or animate grassroots community groups, social workers, self-help groups, etc.

It forces the team to move out of the four walls of their consultation room and reach out to the people in the community. This can bring signifi cant health benefi ts. For example, largescale programmes, based on home-visits and community animation, have been shown to be effective in reducing risk factors for neonatal mortality and actual mortality rates. In the

United States, such programmes have reduced neonatal mortality by 60% in some settings

165

.

Part of the benefi t is due to better uptake of effective care by people who would otherwise remain deprived. In Nepal, for example, the community dynamics of women’s groups led to the better uptake of care, with neonatal and maternal mortality lower than in control communities by 29% and 80%, respectively

166

.

It forces the team to take targeted initiatives, in collaboration with other sectors, to reach the excluded and the unreached and tackle broader determinants of ill-health. As Chapter

2 has shown, this is a necessary complement to establishing universal coverage and one where local health services play a vital role. The 2003 heatwave in western Europe, for example, highlighted the importance of reaching out to the isolated elderly and the dramatic consequences of failing to do so: an excess mortality of more than 50 000 people

167

.

For people and communities, formal links with an identifi able source of care enhance the likelihood that long-term relationships will develop; that services are encouraged to pay more attention to the defi ning features of primary care; and that lines of communication are more intelligible.

At the same time, coordination linkages can be formalized with other levels of care – specialists, hospitals or other technical services – and with social services.

54

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

The primary-care team as a hub of coordination

Primary-care teams cannot ensure comprehensive responsibility for their population without support from specialized services, organizations and institutions that are based outside the community served. In resource-constrained circumstances, these sources of support will typically be concentrated in a “fi rst referral level district hospital”. Indeed, the classic image of a healthcare system based on PHC is that of a pyramid with the district hospital at the top and a set of

(public) health centres that refer to the higher authority.

In conventional settings, ambulatory care professionals have little say in how hospitals and specialized services contribute – or fail to contribute – to the health of their patients, and feel little inclination to reach out to other institutions and stakeholders that are relevant to the health of the local community. This changes if they are entrusted with responsibility for a defi ned population and are recognized as the regular point of entry for that population. As health-care networks expand, the health-care landscape becomes far more crowded and pluralistic. More resources allow for diversifi cation: the range of specialized services that comes within reach may include emergency services, specialists, diagnostic infrastructure, dialysis centres, cancer screening, environmental technicians, long-term care institutions, pharmacies, etc. This represents new opportunities, provided the primary-care teams can assist their community in making the best use of that potential, which is particularly critical to public health, mental health and longterm care

168

.

The coordination (or gatekeeping) role this entails effectively transforms the primary-care pyramid into a network, where the relations between the primary-care team and the other institutions and services are no longer based only on top-down hierarchy and bottom-up referral, but on cooperation and coordination (Figure 3.5).

The primary-care team then becomes the mediator between the community and the other levels

Figure 3.5

Primary care as a hub of coordination: networking within the community served and with outside partners

173,174

Specialized care

Diabetes clinic

TB control centre

Community mental health unit

Consultant

Referral for support multi-drug resistance

Referral for complications

Emergency department

Traffic accident

Placenta praevia

Hospital

Maternity

Hernia

Surgery

Diagnostic services

CT

Scan

Diagnostic support

Self-help group

Primary-care team: continuous, comprehensive, person-centred care

Training support

Training centre

Cytology lab

Pap smears

Liaison community health worker Other

Social services

Other

Environmental health lab

Waste disposal inspection

Mammography

Specialized prevention services

Cancer screening centre

Community

Gender violence

Alcoholism

Alcoholics anonymous

Women’s shelter

NGOs

55

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Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

of the health system, helping people navigate the maze of health services and mobilizing the support of other facilities by referring patients or calling on the support of specialized services.

This coordination and mediation role also extends to collaboration with other types of organizations, often nongovernmental. These can provide signifi cant support to local primary care. They can help ensure that people know what they are entitled to and have the information to avoid substandard providers

169,170

. Independent ombudsman structures or consumer organizations can help users handle complaints. Most importantly, there is a wealth of self-help and mutual support associations for diabet ics, people living with handicaps and chronic diseases that can help people to help themselves

171

. In the

United States alone, more than fi ve million people belong to mutual help groups while, in recent years, civil society organizations dealing with health and health-related issues, from self-help to patient’s rights, have been mushrooming in many low- and middle-income countries. These groups do much more than just inform patients.

They help people take charge of their own situation, improve their health, cope better with illhealth, increase self-confi dence and diminish over-medicalization

172

. Primary-care teams can only be strengthened by reinforcing their linkages with such groups.

Where primary-care teams are in a position to take on this coordinator role, their work becomes more rewarding and attractive, while the overall effects on health are positive. Reliance on specialists and hospitalization is reduced by fi ltering out unnecessary uptake, whereas patient delay is reduced for those who do need referral care, the duration of their hospitalization is shortened, and post-hospitalization follow-up is improved

83,128,129

.

The coordination function provides the institutional framework for mobilizing across sectors to secure the health of local communities. It is not an optional extra but an essential part of the remit of primary-care teams. This has policy implications: coordination will remain wishful thinking unless the primary-care team has some form of either administrative or fi nancial leverage. Coordination also depends on the different institutions’ recognition of the key role of the primary-care teams. Current professional education systems, career structure and remuneration mechanisms most often give signals to the contrary. Reversing these well-entrenched disincentives to primary care requires strong leadership.

Monitoring progress

The switch from conventional to primary care is a complex process that cannot be captured in a single, universal metric. Only in recent years has it been possible to start disentangling the effects of the various features that defi ne primary care.

In part, this is because the identifi cation of the features that make the difference between primary care and conventional health-care delivery has taken years of trial and error, and the instruments to measure them have not been generalized. This is because these features are never all put into place as a single package of reforms, but are the result of a gradual shaping and transformation of the health system. Yet, for all this complexity, it is possible to measure progress, as a complement to the follow-up required for measuring progress towards universal coverage.

The fi rst dimension to consider is the extent to which the organizational measures required to switch to primary care are being put into place.

Q

Is the predominant type of fi rst-contact provider being shifted from specialists and hospitals to generalist primary-care teams in close proximity to where the people live?

Q

Q

Are primary-care providers being made responsible for the health of all the members of a well-identifi ed population: those who attend health services and those who do not?

Are primary-care providers being empowered to coordinate the various inputs of specialized, hospital and social services, by strengthening their administrative authority and purchasing power?

The second dimension to consider is the extent to which the distinctive features of primary care are gaining prominence.

Q

Person-centredness: is there evidence of improvement, as shown by direct observation and user surveys?

56

Chapter 3.

Primary care: putting people fi rst

Q

Q

Q

Comprehensiveness: is the portfolio of primary-care services expanding and becoming more comprehensive, reaching the full essential benefi ts package, from promotion through to palliation, for all age groups?

Continuity: is information for individuals being recorded over the life-course, and transferred between levels of care in cases of referral and to a primary-care unit elsewhere when people relocate?

Regular entry point: are measures taken to ensure that providers know their clients and vice versa?

This should provide the guidance to policy-makers as to the progress they are making with the transformation of health-care delivery. However, they do not immediately make it possible to attribute health and social outcomes to specifi c aspects of the reform efforts. In order to do so, the monitoring of the reform effort needs to be complemented with a much more vigorous research agenda. It is revealing that the Cochrane Review on strategies for integrating primary-health services in low- and middle-income countries could identify only one valid study that took the user’s perspective into account

160

. There has been a welcome surge of research on primary care in high-income countries and, more recently, in the middle-income countries that have launched major PHC reforms.

Nevertheless, it is remarkable that an industry that currently mobilizes 8.6% of the world’s GDP invests so little in research on two of its most effective and cost-effective strategies: primary care and the public policies that underpin and complement it.

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60

Public policies

for the public’s health

Public policies in the health sector, together with those in other sectors, have a huge potential to secure the health of communities. They represent an important complement to universal coverage and service delivery reforms. Unfortunately,

Chapter 4

in most societies, this potential is largely

The importance of effective public policies for health

64

untapped and failures to effectively

System policies that are aligned with PHC goals

66

engage other sectors are widespread.

67

Looking ahead at the diverse range of

Public-health policies

Towards health in all policies

69

challenges associated with the growing importance of ageing, urbanization and

Understanding the under-investment

71

the social determinants of health, there is, without question, a need for a greater

Opportunities for better public policies

capacity to seize this potential. That is why a drive for better public policies – the theme of this chapter – forms a third pillar supporting the move towards PHC, along with universal coverage and primary care.

73

63

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Primary Health Care

Now More Than Ever

The chapter reviews the policies that must be in place. These are:

Q systems policies – the arrangements that are needed across health systems’ building blocks

Q to support universal coverage and effective service delivery; public-health policies – the specifi c actions needed to address priority health problems

Q through cross-cutting prevention and health promotion; and policies in other sectors – contributions to health that can be made through intersectoral collaboration.

The chapter explains how these different public policies can be strengthened and aligned with the goals pursued by PHC.

The importance of effective public policies for health

People want to live in communities and environments which secure and promote their health

1

.

Primary care, with universal access and social protection represent key responses to these expectations. People also expect their governments to put into place an array of public policies that span local through to supra-national level arrangements, without which primary care and universal coverage lose much of their impact and meaning. These include the policies required to make health systems function properly; to organize public-health actions of major benefi t to all; and, beyond the health sector, the policies that can contribute to health and a sense of security, while ensuring that issues, such as urbanization, climate change, gender discrimination or social stratifi cation are properly addressed.

A fi rst group of critical public policies are the health systems policies (related to essential drugs, technology, quality control, human resources, accreditation, etc.) on which primary care and universal coverage reforms depend.

Without functional supply and logistics systems, for example, a primary-care network cannot function properly: in Kenya, for example, children are now much better protected against malaria as a result of local services providing them with insecticide-treated bednets

2

. This has only been possible because the work of primary care was supported by a national initiative with strong political commitment, social marketing and national support for supply and logistics.

Effective public-health policies that address priority health problems are a second group without which primary care and universal coverage reforms would be hindered. These encompass the technical policies and programmes that provide guidance to primary-care teams on how to deal with priority health problems. They also encompass the classical public-health interventions, from public hygiene and disease prevention to health promotion. Some interventions, such as the fortifi cation of salt with iodine, are only feasible at the regional, national or, increasingly at supra-national level. This may be because it is only at those levels that there is the necessary authority to decide upon such policies, or because it is more effi cient to develop and implement such policies on a scale that is beyond the local dimensions of primary-care action. Finally, public policies encompass the rapid response capacity, in command-and-control mode, to deal with acute threats to the public’s health, particularly epidemics and catastrophes. The latter is of the utmost political importance, because failures profoundly affect the public’s trust in its health authorities. The lack of preparedness and uncoordinated responses of both the Canadian and the Chinese health systems to the outbreak of

SARS in 2003, led to public outcries and eventually to the establishment of a national public health agency in Canada. In China, a similar lack of preparedness and transparency led to a crisis in confi dence – a lesson learned in time for subsequent events

3,4

.

The third set of policies that is of critical concern is known as “health in all policies”, which is based on the recognition that population health can be improved through policies that are mainly controlled by sectors other than health

5

. The health content of school curricula, industry’s policy towards gender equality, or the safety of food and consumer goods are all issues that can profoundly infl uence or even determine the health of entire communities, and that can cut across national boundaries. It is not possible to address such issues without intensive intersectoral collaboration that gives due weight to health in all policies.

64

Chapter 4.

Public policies for the public’s health

Better public policies can make a difference in very different ways. They can mobilize the whole of society around health issues, as in Cuba

(Box 4.1). They can provide a legal and social environment that is more or less favourable to health outcomes. The degree of legal access to abortion, for example, co-determines the frequency and related mortality of unsafe abortion

6

. In

South Africa, a change in legislation increased women’s access to a broad range of options for the prevention and treatment of unwanted pregnancy, resulting in a 91% drop in abortion-related deaths

7

. Public policies can anticipate future problems. In Bangladesh, for example, the death toll due to high intensity cyclones and fl ooding was 240 000 people in 1970. With emergency preparedness and multisectoral risk reduction programmes, the death toll of comparable or more severe storms was reduced to 138 000 people in

1991 and 4500 people in 2007

8,9,10

.

In the 23 developing countries that comprise

80% of the global chronic disease burden, 8.5 million lives could be saved in a decade by a 15% dietary salt reduction through manufacturers voluntarily reducing salt content in processed foods and a sustained mass-media campaign encouraging dietary change. Implementation of four measures from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (increased tobacco taxes;

Figure 4.1

Deaths attributable to unsafe abortion per 100 000 live births,

> 200

200

150

100

50 by legal grounds for abortion

a,12,13

0

To save the women’s

Also to preserve life only, or no grounds health

Also in cases of rape or incest

Also in cases of fetal impairment

Also for economic or social reasons a Every dot represents one country.

Also on request smoke-free workplaces; convention-compliant packaging, labelling and awareness campaigns about health risks; and a comprehensive advertising, promotion, and sponsorship ban) could save a further 5.5 million lives in a decade

11

. As is often the case when considering social, economic and political determinants of ill-health, improvements are dependent on a fruitful collaboration between the health sector and a variety of other sectors.

Box 4.1

Rallying society’s resources for health in Cuba

14,15,16

In Cuba, average life expectancy at birth is the second highest in the Americas: in 2006, it was 78 years, and only 7.1 per

1000 children died before the age of fi ve. Educational indicators for young children are among the best in Latin America.

Cuba has achieved these results despite signifi cant economic diffi culties – even today, GDP per capita is only I$ 4500. Cuba’s success in ensuring child welfare refl ects its commitment to national public-health action and intersectoral action.

The development of human resources for health has been a national priority. Cuba has a higher proportion of doctors in the population than any other country. Training for primary care gives specifi c attention to the social determinants of health. They work in multidisciplinary teams in comprehensive primary-care facilities, where they are accountable for the health of a geographically defi ned population providing both curative and preventive services. They work in close contact with their communities, social services and schools, reviewing the health of all children twice a year with the teachers.

They also work with organizations such as the Federation of

Cuban Women (FMC) and political structures. These contacts provide them with the means to act on the social determinants of health within their communities.

Cuban national policy has also prioritized investing in early child development. There are three non-compulsory preschool education programmes, which together are taken up by almost 100% of children under six years of age. In these programmes, screening for developmental disorders facilitates early intervention. Children who are identifi ed with special needs, and their families, receive individual attention through multidisciplinary teams that contain both health and educational specialists. National policy in Cuba has not succumbed to a false choice between investing in the medical workforce and acting on the social determinants of health. Instead, it has promoted intersectoral cooperation to improve health through a strong preventive approach. In support of this policy, a large workforce has been trained to be competent in clinical care, working as an active part of the community it serves.

65

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care

Now More Than Ever

66

System policies that are aligned with PHC goals

There is growing awareness that when parts of the health system malfunction, or are misaligned, the overall performance suffers. Referred to variously as “core functions”

17

or “building blocks”

18

, the components of health systems include infrastructure, human resources, information, technologies and fi nancing – all with consequences for the provision of services. These components are not aligned naturally or simply with the intended direction of PHC reforms that promote primary care and universal coverage: to obtain that alignment requires deliberate and comprehensive policy arrangements.

Experience in promoting essential medicines has shed light on both the opportunities and obstacles to effective systems policies for PHC.

Since the

WHO List of Essential Medicines

was established in 1977, it has become a primary stimulus to the development of national medicines policies. Over 75% of the 193 WHO Member

States now claim to have a national list of essential medicines, and over 100 countries have developed a national medicine policy. Surveys reveal that these policies have been effective in making lower cost and safer medicines available and more rationally used

19,20

. This particular policy has been successfully designed to support PHC, and it offers lessons on how to handle cross-cutting challenges of scale effi ciencies and systems co-dependence. Without such arrangements, the health costs are enormous: nearly 30 000 children die every day from diseases that could easily have been treated if they had had access to essential medicines

21

.

Medicines policies are indicative of how effi ciencies in the scale of organization can be tapped.

Safety, effi cacy and quality of care have universal properties that make them amenable to globally agreed international standards. Adoption and adaptation of these global standards by national authorities is much more effi cient than each country inventing its own standards. National decision-making and purchasing mechanisms can then guide rational, cost-effectiveness-based selection of medicines and reduce costs through bulk purchase. For example, Figure 4.2 shows how centralized oversight of drug purchasing and subsidization in New Zealand signifi cantly improved access to essential medicines while lowering the average prescription price. On a larger scale, transnational mechanisms, such as

UNICEF’s international procurement of vaccines,

PAHO’s Revolving Fund and the Global Drug

Facility for tuberculosis treatment, afford considerable savings as well as quality assurances that countries on their own would be unlikely to negotiate

22,23,24,25

.

A second key lesson of experience with essential drugs policies is that a policy cannot exist as an island and expect to be effectively implemented. Its formulation must identify those other systems elements, be they fi nancing, information, infrastructure or human resources, upon which its implementation is dependent. Procurement mechanisms for pharmaceuticals, for example, raise important considerations for systems fi nancing policies: they are interdependent. Likewise, human resources issues related to the education of consumers as well as the training and working conditions of providers are likely to be key determinants of the rational use of drugs.

Systems policies for human resources have long been a neglected area and one of the main constraints to health systems development

27

. The realization that the health MDGs are contingent on bridging the massive health-worker shortfall in low-income countries has brought long overdue attention to a previously neglected area. Furthermore, the evidence of increasing dependence on migrant health workers to address shortages in

OECD countries underlines the fact that one country’s policies may have a signifi cant impact on another’s. The choices countries make – or fail to

Figure 4.2

Annual pharmaceutical spending and number of prescriptions dispensed in New Zealand since the Pharmaceutical Management

Agency was convened in 1993

26

Net expenditure (NZ$, millions)

700

600

500

400

Prescriptions (millions)

35

30

25

20

300

200

100

Average cost per prescription:

NZ$ 24.3

15

Average cost per prescription:

NZ$ 19.0

10

5

0

1993

0

1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Chapter 4.

Public policies for the public’s health

make – can have major long-term consequences.

Human resources for health are the indispensable input to effective implementation of primary care and universal coverage reforms, and they are also the personifi cation of the values that defi ne PHC. Yet, in the absence of a deliberate choice to guide the health workforce policy by the

PHC goals, market forces within the health-care system will drive health workers towards greater sub-specialization in tertiary care institutions, if not towards migration to large cities or other countries. PHC-based policy choices, on the other hand, focus on making staff available for the extension of coverage to underserved areas and disadvantaged population groups, as with Malaysia’s scaling up of 11 priority cadres of workers,

Ethiopia’s training of 30 000 Health Extension

Workers, Zambia’s incentives to health workers to serve in rural areas, the 80 000 Lady Health

Workers in Pakistan, or the task shifting for the care of HIV patients. These policies direct investments towards the establishment of the primarycare teams that are to be the hub of the PHCbased health system: the 80 000 health workers for Brazil’s 30 000 Family Health Teams or the retraining of over 10 000 nurses and physicians in Turkey. Furthermore, these policies require both fi nancial and non-fi nancial incentives to compete effectively for scarce human resources, as in the United Kingdom, where measures have been taken to make a career in primary care fi nancially competitive with specialization.

The core business of ministries of health and other public authorities is to put into place, across the various building blocks of the health system, the set of arrangements and mechanisms required to meet their health goals. When a country chooses to base its health systems on

PHC – when it starts putting into place primary care and universal coverage reforms – its whole arsenal of system policies needs to be aligned behind these reforms: not just those pertaining to service delivery models or fi nancing. It is possible to develop system policies that do not take account of the PHC agenda. It is also possible to choose to align them to PHC. If a country opts for PHC, effective implementation allows no half measures; no health systems building block will be left untouched.

Public-health policies

Aligning priority health programmes with PHC

Much action in the health sector is marshalled around specifi c high-burden diseases, such as

HIV/AIDS, or stages of the life course such as children – so-called priority health conditions.

The health programmes that are designed around these priorities are often comprehensive insofar as they set norms, ensure visibility and quality assurance, and entail a full range of entry points to address them locally or at the level of countries or regions. Responses to these priority health conditions can be developed in ways that either strengthen or undercut PHC

28

.

In 1999 for example, the Primary Care Department of the Brazilian Paediatrics Society (SBP) prepared a plan to train its members in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) and to adapt this strategy to regional epidemiological characteristics

29

. Despite conducting an initial training course, the SBP then warned paediatricians that IMCI was not a substitute for traditional paediatric care and risked breaching the basic rights of children and adolescents. In a next step, it objected to the delegation of tasks to the nurses, who are part of the multidisciplinary family health teams, the backbone of Brazil’s PHC policy. Eventually, the SBP attempted to reclaim child and adolescent care as the exclusive domain of paediatricians with the argument that this ensured the best quality of care.

Experience with priority health programmes shows that the way they are designed makes the difference: trying to construct an entire set of

PHC reforms around the unique requirements of a single disease leads to considerable ineffi ciencies. Yet, the reverse is equally true. While

AIDS has been referred to as a metaphor for all that ails health systems and the wider society

30

, the global response to the HIV pandemic can, in many respects, also be viewed as a pathfi nder for

PHC. From the start, it has had a strong rightsbased and social justice foundation

31

. Its links to often marginalized and disadvantaged high-risk constituencies, and concerns about stigma, have led to concerted efforts to secure their rights and entitlements to employment, social services and

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health care. Efforts to scale-up services to conform to the goals of universal access have helped to expose the critical constraints deriving from the workforce crisis. The challenge of providing life-long treatment in resource-constrained settings has inspired innovations, such as more effective deployment of scarce human resources via “task shifting”, the use of “patient advocates”

32

, and the unexpected implementation of electronic health records. Most importantly, the adoption of a continuum of care approaches for HIV/AIDS from prevention to treatment to palliation has helped to revive and reinforce core features of primary care, such as comprehensiveness, continuity and person-centredness

32

. such as health education campaigns aimed at smoking, poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles, have often inadvertently exacerbated inequities.

Socioeconomic differences in the uptake of onesize-fi ts-all public-health interventions have, at times, not only resulted in increased health inequities, but also in victim-blaming to explain the phenomenon

35

. Well-designed public-health policies can, however, reduce inequities when they provide health benefi ts to entire populations or when they explicitly prioritize groups with poor health

36

. The evidence base for privileging public policies that reduce inequities is increasing, most notably through the work of the Commission on

Social Determinants of Health (Box 4.2)

37

.

Countrywide public-health initiatives

While it is essential that primary-care teams seek to improve the health of populations at local level, this may be of limited value if national- and global-level policy-makers fail to take initiatives for broader, public policy measures, which are important in changing nutrition patterns and infl uencing the social determinants of health.

These can rarely be implemented only in the context of local policies. Classical areas in which beyond-local-scale public-health interventions may be benefi cial include: altering individual behaviours and lifestyles; controlling and preventing disease; tackling hygiene and the broader determinants of health; and secondary prevention, including screening for disease

33

. This includes measures such as the fortifi cation of bread with folate, taxation of alcohol and tobacco, and ensuring the safety of food, consumer goods and toxic substances. Such national- and transnational-scale public-health interventions have the potential to save millions of lives. The successful removal of the major risk factors of disease, which is technically possible, would reduce premature deaths by an estimated 47% and increase global healthy life expectancy by an estimated 9.3 years

34

. However, as is the case for the priority programmes discussed above, the corresponding public-health policies must be designed so as to reinforce the PHC reforms.

Not all such public-health interventions will improve, for example, equity. Health promotion efforts that target individual risk behaviours,

Rapid response capacity

While PHC reforms emphasize the importance of participatory and deliberative engagement of diverse stakeholders, humanitarian disasters or disease outbreaks demand a rapid response capacity that is crucial in dealing effectively with the problem at hand and is an absolute imperative in maintaining the trust of the population in their health system. Invoking quarantines or travel bans, rapidly sequencing the genome of a new pathogen to inform vaccine or therapeutic design, and mobilizing health workers and institutions without delay can be vital. While the advent of an “emergency” often provides the necessary good will and fl exibility of these diverse actors to respond, an effective response is more likely if there have been signifi cant investments in preparedness

38

.

Global efforts related to the threat of pandemic avian inf luenza (H5N1) provide a number of interesting insights into how policies that inform preparedness and response could be guided by the values of PHC related to equity, universal coverage and primary-care reforms. In dealing with seasonal and pandemic infl uenza, 116 national infl uenza laboratories, and fi ve international collaborating centre laboratories share infl uenza viruses in a system that was started by

WHO over 50 years ago. The system was implemented to identify new pandemic virus threats and inform the optimal annual preparation of a seasonal infl uenza vaccine that is used primarily by industrialized countries. With the primarily

68

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Box 4.2

Recommendations of the

Commission on Social Determinants of

Health

37

pandemic, is resulting in changes to national and global capacity strengthening: from surveillance and laboratories to capacity transfer for vaccine formulation and production, and capacity for stock-piling. Thus, the most equitable response is the most effective response, and the most effective rapid response capacity can only emerge from the engagement of multiple stakeholders in this global process of negotiation.

The Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) was a three-year effort begun in 2005 to provide evidencebased recommendations for action on social determinants to reduce health inequities. The Commission accumulated an unprecedented collection of material to guide this process, drawing from theme-based knowledge networks, civil society experiences, country partners and departments within WHO.

The fi nal report of the CSDH contains a detailed series of recommendations for action, organized around the following three overarching recommendations.

1. Improve daily living conditions

Key improvements required in the well-being of girls and women; the circumstances in which their children are born, early child development and education for girls and boys; living and working conditions; social protection policy; and conditions for a fl ourishing older life.

2. Tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources

To address health inequities it is necessary to address inequities in the way society is organized. This requires a strong public sector that is committed, capable and adequately fi nanced. This in turn requires strengthened governance including stronger civil society and an accountable private sector. Governance dedicated to pursuing equity is required at all levels.

3. Measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of action

It is essential to acknowledge the problem of health inequity and ensure that it is measured – both within countries and globally. National and global health equity surveillance systems for routine monitoring of health inequity and the social determinants of health are required that also evaluate the health equity impact of policy and action. Other requirements are the training of policy-makers and health practitioners, increased public understanding of social determinants of health, and a stronger social determinants focus in research.

developing country focus of human zoonotic infections and the spectre of a global pandemic associated with H5N1 strains of infl uenza, the interest in infl uenza now extends to developing countries, and the long-standing public-private approach to infl uenza vaccine production and virus sharing has come under intense scrutiny.

The expectation of developing countries for equitable access to protection, including affordable access to anti-virals and vaccines in the event of a

Towards health in all policies

The health of populations is not merely a product of health sector activities – be they primary-care action or countrywide public-health action. It is to a large extent determined by societal and economic factors, and hence by policies and actions that are not within the remit of the health sector.

Changes in the workplace, for example, can have a range of consequences for health (Table 4.1).

Confronted with these phenomena, the health authorities may perceive the sector as powerless to do more than try to mitigate the consequences.

It cannot, of itself, redefi ne labour relations or unemployment arrangements. Neither can it increase taxes on alcohol, impose technical norms on motor vehicles or regulate rural migration and the development of slums – although all these measures can yield health benefi ts. Good urban governance, for example, can lead to 75 years or more of life expectancy, against as few as 35 years with poor governance

39

. Thus, it is important for the health sector to engage with other sectors, not just in order to obtain collaboration on tackling pre-identifi ed priority health problems, as is the case for well-designed publichealth interventions, but to ensure that health is recognized as one of the socially valued outcomes of all policies.

Such intersectoral action was a fundamental principle of the Alma-Ata Declaration. However, ministries of health in many countries have struggled to coordinate with other sectors or wield infl uence beyond the health system for which they are formally responsible. A major obstacle to reaping the rewards of intersectoral action has been the tendency, within the health sector, to see such collaboration as “mostly symbolic in trying to get other sectors to help [health] services”

40

.

Intersectoral action has often not concentrated

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Table 4.1

Adverse health effects of changing work circumstances

5

Adverse health effects of unemployment

Elevated blood pressure

Increased depression and anxiety

Adverse health effects of restructuring

Reduced job satisfaction, reduced organizational commitment and greater stress

Adverse health effects of non-standard work arrangements

Higher rates of occupational injury and disease than workers with full-time stable employment

High level of stress, low job satisfaction and other negative health and well-being factors

Increased visits to general practitioners

Feelings of unfairness in downsizing process

Increased symptoms of coronary disease

More common in distributive and personal service sub-sectors where people in general have lower educational attainment and low skill levels

Worse mental health and greater stress

Increased psychological morbidity and increased medical visits

Survivors face new technologies, work processes, new physical and psychological exposures

(reduced autonomy, increased work intensity, changes in the characteristics of social relationships, shifts in the employment contracts and changes in personal behaviour)

Low entitlement to workers’ compensation and low level of claims by those who are covered

Increased occupational health hazards due to work intensifi cation motivated by economic pressures

Decreased self-reported health status and an increase in the number of health problems

Increase in family problems, particularly fi nancial hardships

Changes in the psychological contract and lost sense of trust

Prolonged stress with physiological and psychological signs

Inadequate training and poor communication caused by institutional disorganization and inadequate regulatory control

Inability of workers to organize their own protection

Cumulative trauma claims are diffi cult to show due to mobility of workers

Reduced ability to improve life conditions due to inability to obtain credit, fi nd housing, make pension arrangements, and possibility for training

Fewer concerns for environmental issues and health and safety at work on improving the policies of other sectors, but on instrumentalizing their resources: mobilizing teachers to contribute to the distribution of bednets, police offi cers to trace tuberculosis treatment defaulters, or using the transport of the department of agriculture for the emergency evacuation of sick patients.

A “whole-of-government approach”, aiming for

“health in all policies” follows a different logic

41,42

.

It does not start from a specifi c health problem and look at how other sectors can contribute to solving them – as would be the case, for example, for tobacco-related disease. It starts by looking at the effects of agricultural, educational, environmental, fi scal, housing, transport and other policies on health. It then seeks to work with these other sectors to ensure that, while contributing to well-being and wealth, these policies also contribute to health

5

.

Other sector’s public policies, as well as private sector policies, can be important to health in two ways.

Q

Some may lead to adverse consequences for health (Table 4.1). Often such adverse consequences are identifi ed retrospectively, as in the case of the negative health effects of air pollution or industrial contamination. Yet, it is also often possible to foresee them or detect them at an early stage. Decision-makers in other sectors may be unaware of the consequences

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Q of the choices they are making, in which case engagement, with due consideration for the other sectors’ goals and objectives, may then be the fi rst step in minimizing the adverse health effects.

Public policies developed by other sectors – education, gender equality and social inclusion

– may positively contribute to health in ways that these other sectors are equally unaware of. They may be further enhanced by more purposefully pursuing these positive health outcomes, as an integral part of the policy. For example, a gender equality policy, developed in its own right, may produce health benefi ts, often to a degree that the proponents of the policy underestimate. By collaborating to give more formal recognition to these outcomes, the gender equality policy itself is reinforced, and the synergies enhance the health outcomes.

In that case, the objective of intersectoral collaboration is to reinforce the synergies.

Failing to collaborate with other sectors is not without its consequences. It affects the performance of health systems and, particularly, primary care. For example, Morocco’s trachoma programme relied both on high levels of community mobilization and on effective collaboration with the ministries of education, interior and local affairs. That collaboration has been the key to the successful elimination of trachoma

43

. In contrast, the same country’s tuberculosis control programme failed to link up with urban development and poverty reduction efforts and, as a result, its performance has been disappointing

44

.

Both were administered by the same Ministry of

Health, by staff with similar capacities working under similar resource constraints, but with different strategies.

Failing to collaborate with other sectors has another consequence, which is that avoidable illhealth is not avoided. In the NGagne Diaw quarter of Thiaroye-sur-Mer, Dakar, Senegal, people make a living from the informal recycling of lead batteries. This was of little concern to the authorities until an unexplained cluster of child deaths prompted an investigation. The area was found to be contaminated with lead, and the siblings and mothers of the dead children were found to have extremely high concentrations of lead in their blood. Now, major investments are required to deal with the health and social consequences and to decontaminate the affected area, including people’s homes. Before the cluster of deaths occurred, the health sector had, unfortunately, not considered it a priority to work with other sectors to help to avoid this situation

45

.

Where intersectoral collaboration is successful, the health benefi ts can be considerable, although deaths avoided are less readily noticed than lives lost. For example, pressure from civil society and professionals led to the development, in France, of a multi-pronged, high-profi le strategy to improve road safety as a social and political issue that had to be confronted (and not primarily as a health sector issue). Various sectors worked together in a sustained effort, with high-level political endorsement, to reduce road-traffic accidents, with highly publicized monitoring of progress and a reduction in fatalities of up to 21% per year

46

.

The health and health equity benefi ts of working towards health in all policies have become apparent in programmes such as “Healthy Cities and

Municipalities”, “Sustainable Cities”, and “Cities

Without Slums”, with integrated approaches that range from engagement in budget hearings and social accountability mechanisms to data gathering and environmental intervention

47

.

In contemporary societies, health tends to become fragmented into various sub-institutions dealing with particular aspects of health or health systems, while the capacity to assemble the various aspects of public policy that jointly determine health is underdeveloped. Even in the well-resourced context of, for example, the European Union, the institutional basis for doing this remains poorly developed

48

. Ministries of health have a vital role to play in creating such a basis, which is among the key strategies for making headway in tackling the socioeconomic determinants of ill-health

49

.

Understanding the under-investment

Despite the benefi ts and low relative cost of better public policies, their potential remains largely underutilized across the world. One high-profi le example is that only 5% of the world’s population live in countries with comprehensive tobacco

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advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans, despite their proven effi cacy in reducing health threats, which are projected to claim one billion lives this century

50

.

The health sector’s approach to improving public policies has been singularly unsystematic and guided by patchy evidence and muddled decisionmaking – not least because the health community has put so little effort into collating and communicating these facts. For all the progress that has been made in recent years, information on the effectiveness of interventions to redress, for example, health inequities is still hard to come by and, when it is available, it is confi ned to a privileged circle of concerned experts. A lack of information and evidence is, thus, one of the explanations for under-investment.

Box 4.3

How to make unpopular public policy decisions

51

The Seventh Futures Forum of senior health executives organized by the World Health Organization’s Regional Offi ce for Europe in

2004 discussed the diffi culties decision-makers can have in tackling unpopular policy decisions. A popular decision is usually one that results from broad public demand; an unpopular decision does not often respond to clearly expressed public expectations, but is made because the minister or the chief medical offi cer knows it is the right action to bring health gains and improve quality. Thus, a potentially unpopular decision should not seek popularity but, rather, efforts must be made to render it understandable and, therefore, acceptable.

Making decisions more popular is not an academic exercise but one that deals with actual endorsement. When a decision is likely to be unpopular, participants in the Forum agreed that it is advisable for health executives to apply some of the following approaches.

Talk about health and quality improvement

. Health is the core area of expertise and competence, and the explanations of how the decision will improve the quality of health and health services should therefore come fi rst. Avoiding non-health arguments that are diffi cult to promote may be useful – for instance, in the case of hospital closures, it is much better to talk about improving quality of care than about containing costs.

Offer compensation

. Explain what people will receive to balance what they will have to give up. Offer some gains in other sectors or in other services; work to make a win-win interpretation of the coming decision by balancing good and bad news.

Be strong on implementation

. If health authorities are not ready to implement the decision, they should refrain from introducing it until they are ready to do so.

Be transparent

. Explain who is taking the decision and the stakes of those involved and those who are affected. Enumerate all the stakeholders and whether they [are] involved negatively.

Avoid one-shot decisions

. Design and propose the decisions as part of an overall plan or strategy.

Ensure good timing

. Before making a decision, it is essential to take enough time to prepare and develop a good plan. When the plan is ready, the best choice may be to act quickly for implementation.

Involve all groups

. Bring into the discussion both the disadvantaged groups and the ones who will benefi t from the decision. Diversify the approach.

Do not expect mass-media support

solely because the decision is the right one from the viewpoint of health gains. The mass media cannot be expected to be always neutral or positive; they may often be brought into the debate by the opponents of the decision. Be prepared to face problems with the press.

Be modest

. Acceptability of the decision is more likely when decision-makers acknowledge in public that there is some uncertainty about the result and they commit openly to monitoring and evaluating the outcomes. This leaves the door open for adjustments during the process of implementation.

Be ready for quick changes

. Sometimes the feelings of the public change quickly and what was perceived as opposition can turn into acceptance.

Be ready for crisis and unexpected side-effects

. Certain groups of populations can be especially affected by a decision (such as general practitioners in the case of hospital closures). Public-health decision-makers have to cope with reactions that were not planned.

Stick to good evidence

. Public acceptance may be low without being based on any objective grounds. Having good facts is a good way to shape the debate and avoid resistance.

Use examples from other countries

. Decision-makers may look at what is being done elsewhere and explain why other countries deal with a problem differently; they can use such arguments to make decisions more acceptable in their own country.

Involve health professionals

and, above all,

be courageous

.

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The fact is, however, that even for wellinformed political decision-makers, many public policy issues have a huge potential for unpopularity: whether it is reducing the number of hospital beds, imposing seatbelts, culling poultry or taxing alcohol, resistance is to be expected and controversy an everyday occurrence. Other decisions have so little visibility, e.g. measures that ensure a safe food production chain, that they offer little political mileage. Consensus on stern measures may be easy to obtain at a moment of crisis, but public opinion has a notoriously short attention span. Politicians often pay more attention to policies that produce benefi ts within electoral cycles of two to four years and, therefore, undervalue efforts where benefi ts, such as those of environmental protection or early child development, accrue over a time span of 20 to 40 years. If unpopularity is one intractable disincentive to political commitment, active opposition from well-resourced lobbies is another. An obvious example is the tobacco industry’s efforts to limit tobacco control. Similar opposition is seen to the regulation of industrial waste and to the marketing of food to children. These obstacles to steering public policy are real and need to be dealt with in a systematic way (Box 4.3).

Compounding these disincentives to political commitment is the diffi culty of coordinating operations across multiple institutions and sectors. Many countries have limited institutional capacity to do so and, very often, do not have enough capable professionals to cope with the work involved. Crisis management, short-term planning horizons, lack of understandable evidence, unclear intersectoral arrangements, vested interests and inadequate modes of governing the health sector reinforce the need for comprehensive policy reforms to realize the potential of public-health action. Fortunately, there are promising opportunities to build upon.

Opportunities for better public policies

Better information and evidence

Although there are strong indications that the potential gains from better public policies are enormous, the evidence base on their outcomes and on their cost-effectiveness is surprisingly weak

52

. We know much about the relationship between certain behaviours – smoking, diet, exercise, etc. – and health outcomes, but much less about how to effect behavioural change in a systematic and sustainable way at population levels. Even in well-resourced contexts, the obstacles are many: the time-scale in achieving outcomes; the complexity of multifactorial disease causation and intervention effects; the lack of data; the methodological problems, including the diffi culties in applying the well-accepted criteria used in the evaluation of clinical methods; and the different perspectives of the multiple stakeholders involved. Infectious disease surveillance is improving, but information on chronic diseases and their determinants or on health inequities is patchy and often lacks systematic focus. Even the elementary foundations for work on population health and the collection of statistics on births and deaths or diseases are defi cient in many countries (Box 4.4)

53

.

Over the last 30 years, however, there has been a quantum leap in the production of evidence for clinical medicine through collaborative efforts such as the Cochrane Collaboration and the International Clinical Epidemiology Network

56,57

. A similar advance is possible in the production of evidence on public policies, although such efforts are still too tentative compared to the enormous resources available for research in other areas of health, e.g. diagnostic and therapeutic medical technologies. There are, however, signs of progress in the increasing use of systematic reviews by policy-makers

58,59

.

Two tracks offer potential for signifi cantly strengthening the knowledge base.

Q

Speeding up the organization of systematic reviews of critical interventions and their economic evaluation. One way of doing this is by expanding the remit of existing health technology assessment agencies to include the assessment of public-health interventions and delivery modes, since this would make use of existing institutional capacities with ringfenced resources. The emerging collaborative networks, such as the Campbell Collaboration

60

, can play a catalyzing role, exploiting

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74

Box 4.4

The scandal of invisibility: where births and deaths are not counted

Civil registration is both a product of economic and social development, and a condition for modernization. There has been little improvement in coverage of vital registration (offi cial recording of births and deaths) over recent decades (see Figure 4.3). as health interventions. Within the UN system, civil registration development has no identifi able home. There are no coordination mechanisms to tackle the problem and respond to requests for technical support for mobilizing the necessary fi nancial and

Almost 40% (48 million) of 128 million global births each year go uncounted because of the lack of civil

53

registration systems. The situation is even worse for deaths registration. Globally, two thirds (38 million) of 57 million annual deaths are not registered. WHO receives reliable cause-of-death statistics from only 31 of

Figure 4.3

60

Percentage of births and deaths recorded in countries with complete civil registration systems, by WHO region, 1975–2004 a

Percentage of births and deaths registered

100

80

Births technical resources. Establishing the infrastructure of civil regis-

1975–84

Deaths

1985–94 1995–2004 tration systems to ensure all births and deaths are counted requires collaboration between different partners in different sectors. It needs sustained advocacy, the nurturing of public trust, supportive legal frameworks, its 193 Member States.

incentives, fi nancial support, human resources

International efforts to improve vital statistics infrastructure in developing countries have been too limited in size and scope

54

. Neither, the global health community nor the countries have given the development of health statistics and civil registration systems the same priority

40

20

0

Africa

Am ericas editerranean

Europe

Eastern M a Source: adapted from

54

.

acifi c

Africa

Am ericas

Eastern Mediterranean

Europe

Asia acific and modernized data management systems

55

.

Where it functions well, vital statistics provide basic information for priority setting. The lack of progress in the registration of births and deaths is a major concern for the design and implementation of PHC reforms.

Q the comparative advantage of scale effi ciency and international comparisons.

Accelerating the documentation and assessment of whole-of-government approaches using techniques that build on the initial experience with “health impact assessment” or “health equity impact assessment” tools

61,62,63

. Although these tools are still in development, there is growing demand from local to supra-national policy-makers for such analyses (Box 4.5). Evidence of their utility in infl uencing public policies is building up

64,65,66

, and they constitute a strategic way of organizing more thoughtful cross-sector discussions.

That in itself is an inroad into one of the more intractable aspects of the use of the available evidence base: the clear need for more systematic communication on the potential health gains to be derived from better public policies. Decision-makers, particularly in other sectors, are insuffi ciently aware of the health consequences of their policies, and of the potential benefi ts that could be derived from them. Communication beyond the realm of the specialist is as important as the production of evidence and requires far more effective approaches to the dissemination of evidence among policy-makers

67

. Framing population health evidence in terms of the health impact of policies, rather than in the classical modes of communication among health specialists, has the potential to change radically the type and quality of policy dialogue.

A changing institutional landscape

Along with lack of evidence, the area where new opportunities are appearing is in the institutional capacity for developing public policies that are aligned with PHC goals. Despite the reluctance, including from donors, to commit substantial funds to National Institutes of Public Health

(NIPHs)

69

, policy-makers rely heavily on them or

Chapter 4.

Public policies for the public’s health

Box 4.5

European Union impact assessment guidelines

68

European Union guidelines suggest that the answers to the following questions can form the basis of an assessment of the impact of proposed public-health interventions.

Public health and safety

Does the proposed option:

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q affect the health and safety of individuals or populations, including life expectancy, mortality and morbidity through impacts on the socioeconomic environment, e.g. working environment, income, education, occupation or nutrition?

increase or decrease the likelihood of bioterrorism? increase or decrease the likelihood of health risks attributable to substances that are harmful to the natural environment?

affect health because of changes in the amount of noise or air, water or soil quality in populated areas?

affect health because of changes in energy use or waste disposal?

affect lifestyle-related determinants of health such as the consumption of tobacco or alcohol, or physical activity?

produce specifi c effects on particular risk groups (determined by age, sex, disability, social group, mobility, region, etc.)?

Access to and effects on social protection, health and educational systems

Does the proposed option:

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q

Q have an impact on services in terms of their quality and access to them?

have an effect on the education and mobility of workers (health, education, etc.)?

affect the access of individuals to public or private education or vocational and continuing training?

affect the cross-border provision of services, referrals across borders and cooperation in border regions?

affect the fi nancing and organization of and access to social, health and education systems (including vocational training)?

affect universities and academic freedom or self-governance?

on their functional equivalents. In many countries, NIPHs have been the primary repositories of independent technical expertise for public health, but also, more broadly, for public policies. Some have a prestigious track record: the Fiocruz in

Brazil, the Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Pedro

Kouri” in Cuba, Kansanterveyslaitos in Finland, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, or the National Institute of

Hygiene and Epidemiology in Viet Nam. They testify to the importance that countries accord to being able to rely on such capacity

69

.

Increasingly, however, this capacity is unable to cope with the multiple new demands for public policies to protect or promote health. This is leaving traditional national and global institutes of public health with an oversized, under-funded mandate, which poses problems of dispersion and diffi culties in assembling the critical mass of diversifi ed and specialized expertise (Figure 4.4).

In the meantime, the institutional landscape is changing as the capacity for public policy support is being spread over a multitude of national and supra-national institutions. The number of loci of expertise, often specialized in some aspect of public policy, has increased considerably, spanning a broad range of institutional forms including: research centres, foundations, academic units, independent consortia and think tanks, projects, technical agencies and assorted initiatives. Malaysia’s Health Promotion Foundation Board, New Zealand’s Alcohol Advisory

Figure 4.4

Essential public-health functions that 30 national public-health institutions view as being part of their portfolio

69

Surveillance, problem investigation, control of risks and threats to public health

Public health research

Evaluation and analysis of health status

Health promotion and prevention programmes

Planning and management

Reduction of the impact of disasters on health

Human resource development and training

Social participation and citizen empowerment

Regulation and enforcement

Quality assurance in personal and population-based health services

Evaluation and promotion of coverage and access to health services

0 20 40 60 80

Proportion of institutions surveyed (%)

10

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Council and Estonia’s Health Promotion Commission show that funding channels have diversifi ed and may include research grants and contracts, government subsidies, endowments, or hypothecated taxes on tobacco and alcohol sales. This results in a more complex and diffuse, but also much richer, network of expertise.

There are important scale effi ciencies to be obtained from cross-border collaboration on a variety of public policy issues. For example, the International Association of National Public

Health Institutes (IANPHI) helps countries to set up strategies for institutional capacity development

70

. In this context, institution building will have to establish careful strategies for specialization and complementarity, paying attention to the challenge of leadership and coordination.

At the same time, this offers perspectives for transforming the production of the highly diverse and specialized workforce that better public policies require. Schools of public health, community medicine and community nursing have traditionally been the primary institutional reservoirs for generating that workforce. However, they produce too few professionals who are too often focused on disease control and classical epidemiology, and are usually ill-prepared for a career of fl exibility, continuous learning and coordinated leadership.

The multi-centric institutional development provides opportunities for a fundamental rethink of curricula and of the institutional settings of pre-service education, with on-the-job training in close contact with the institutions where the expertise is located and developed

71

. There are promising signs of renewal in this regard in the WHO South-East Asian Region (SEARO) that should be drawn upon to stimulate similar thinking and action elsewhere

27

. The increasing cross-border exchange of experience and expertise, combined with a global interest in improving public policy-making capacity, is creating new opportunities – not just in order to prepare professionals in more adequate numbers but, above all, professionals with a broader outlook and who are better prepared to address complex public heath challenges of the future.

Equitable and effi cient global health action

In many countries, responsibilities for health and social services are being delegated to local levels. At the same time, fi nancial, trade, industrial and agricultural policies are shifting to international level: health outcomes have to be obtained locally, while health determinants are being infl uenced at international level. Countries increasingly align their public policies with those of a globalized world.

This presents both opportunities and risks.

In adjusting to globalization, fragmented policy competencies in national governance systems are fi nding convergence. Various ministries, including health, agriculture, fi nance, trade and foreign affairs are now exploring together how they can best inform pre-negotiation trade positions, provide input during negotiations, and weigh the costs and benefi ts of alternative policy options on health, the economy and the future of their people. This growing global health “interdependence” is accompanied by a mushrooming of activities expressed at the global level. The challenge is, therefore, to ensure that emerging networks of governance are adequately inclusive of all actors and sectors, responsive to local needs and demands, accountable, and oriented towards social justice

72

. The recent emergence of a global food crisis provides further legitimacy to an input from the health sector into the evolving global response. Gradually, a space is opening for the consideration of health in the trade agreements negotiated through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Although implementation has proved problematic, the fl exibilities agreed at Doha for provision in the Agreement on Trade-Related

Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

73

of compulsory licencing of pharmaceuticals are examples of emerging global policies to protect health.

There is a growing demand for global norms and standards as health threats are being shifted from areas where safety measures are being tightened to places where they barely exist. Assembling the required expertise and processes is complex and expensive. Increasingly, countries are relying on global mechanisms and collaboration

74

. This trend started over 40 years ago with the creation of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in 1963

76

Chapter 4.

Public policies for the public’s health

by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO to coordinate international food standards and consumer protection. Another long-standing example is the International Programme on Chemical Safety, established in 1980 as a joint programme of the WHO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United

Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In the

European Union, the construction of health protection standards is shared between agencies and applied across Europe. Given the expense and complexity of drug safety monitoring, many countries adapt and use the standards of the United

States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). WHO sets global standards for tolerable levels of many contaminants. In the meantime, countries must either undertake these processes themselves or ensure access to standards from other countries or international agencies, adapted to their own context.

The imperative for global public-health action, thus, places further demands on the capacity and strength of health leadership to respond to the need to protect the health of their communities.

Local action needs to be accompanied by the coordination of different stakeholders and sectors within countries. It also needs to manage global health challenges through global collaboration and negotiation. As the next chapter shows, this is a key responsibility of the state.

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78

Leadership and

effective government

The preceding chapters have described how health systems can be transformed to deliver better health in ways that people value: equitably, people-centred, and with the knowledge that health authorities administer public-health functions to secure the well-being of all communities. These PHC reforms demand new forms of leadership for health. This chapter begins by clarifying why the

Chapter 5

Governments as brokers for

PHC reform

Effective policy dialogue

public sector needs to have a strong role in leading and steering public health care

Managing the political process: from launching reform to implementing it

reforms, and emphasizes the fact that this function should be exercised through collaborative models of

82

86

92

policy dialogue with multiple stakeholders, because this is what people expect and because it is the most effective. It then considers strategies to improve the effectiveness of reform efforts and the management of the political processes that condition them.

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82

Governments as brokers for

PHC reform

Mediating the social contract for health

The ultimate responsibility for shaping national health systems lies with governments. Shaping does not suggest that governments should − or even could – reform the entire health sector on their own. Many different groups have a role to play: national politicians and local governments, the health professions, the scientifi c community, the private sector and civil society organizations, as well as the global health community. Nevertheless, the responsibility for health that is entrusted to government agencies is unique and is rooted in principled politics as well as in widely held expectations

1

.

Politically, the legitimacy of governments and their popular support depends on their ability to protect their citizens and play a redistributive role. The governance of health is among the core public policy instruments for institutionalized protection and redistribution. In modern states, governments are expected to protect health, to guarantee access to health care and to safeguard people from the impoverishment that illness can bring. These responsibilities were progressively extended, incorporating the correction of market failures that characterize the health sector

2

.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, health protection and health care have progressively been incorporated as goods that are guaranteed by governments and are central to the social contract between the state and its citizens. The importance of health systems as a key element of the social contract in modernizing societies is most acutely evident during reconstruction after periods of war or disaster: rebuilding health services counts among the fi rst tangible signs that society is returning to normal

3

.

The legitimacy of state intervention is not only based on social and political considerations. There are also key economic actors – the medical equipment industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the professions – with an interest in governments taking responsibility for health to ensure a viable health market: a costly modern health economy cannot be sustained without risk sharing and pooling of resources. Indeed, those countries that spend the most on health are also those countries with the largest public fi nancing of the health sector (Figure 5.1).

Figure 5.1

Percentage of GDP used for health, 2005

4

Percentage GDP

16

14

12

External resources

Out-of-pocket expenditure

Other private expenditure

General government expenditure

10

8

6

4

2

0

Low-income countries, without India

India Lower middle-income countries, without China

China Upper middle-income countries, without Brazil

Brazil High-income countries, without USA

USA

Even in the United States, its exceptionalism stems not from lower public expenditure – at 6.9% of GDP it is no lower than the high-income countries average of 6.7% – but from its singularly high additional private expenditure. The persistent under-performance of the United States health sector across domains of health outcomes, quality, access, effi ciency and equity

5

, explains opinion polls that show increasing consensus of the notion of government intervention to secure more equitable access to essential health care

6,7

.

A more effective public sector stewardship of the health sector is, thus, justifi ed on the grounds of greater effi ciency and equity. This crucial stewardship role is often misinterpreted as a mandate for centralized planning and complete administrative control of the health sector. While some types of health challenges, e.g. public-health emergencies or disease eradication, may require authoritative command-and-control management, effective stewardship increasingly relies on “mediation” to address current and future complex health challenges. The interests of public authorities, the health sector and the public are closely intertwined. Over the years, this has made all the institutions of medical care, such as training, accreditation, payment, hospitals,

Chapter 5.

Leadership and effective government

entitlements, etc., the object of intensive bargaining on how broadly to defi ne the welfare state and the collective goods that go with it

8,9

. This means that public and quasi-public institutions have to mediate the social contract between institutions of medicine, health and society

10

. In high-income countries today, the health-care system and the state appear indissolubly bound together. In low- and middle-income countries, the state has often had a more visible role, but paradoxically, one that was less effective in steering the health sector, particularly when, during the 1980s and

1990s, some countries of them became severely tested by confl icts and economic recession. This resulted in their health systems being drawn in directions quite different from the goals and values pursued by the PHC movement.

Disengagement and its consequences

In many socialist and post-socialist countries undergoing economic restructuring, the state has withdrawn abruptly from its previously predominant role in health. China’s deregulation of the health sector in the 1980s, and the subsequent steep increases in reliance on out-of-pocket spending, is a case in point and a warning to the rest of the world

11

. A spectacular deterioration of health-care provision and social protection, particularly in rural areas, led to a marked slowdown in the increase in life expectancy

11,12

. This caused

China to re-examine its policies and reassert the

Government’s leadership role − a re-examination that is far from over (Box 5.1)

13

.

A similar scenario of disengagement was observed in many of the countries of central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of

Independent States (CEE-CIS). In the early 1990s, public expenditure on health declined to levels that made administering a basic system virtually impossible. This contributed to a major decline in life expectancy

17

. Catastrophic health spending became a major cause of poverty

18

. More recently, funding levels have stabilized or even increased, but signifi cant improvements in health outcomes have not followed and socioeconomic inequalities in health and health-care access are rising.

Evidence and trends related to these rises, as well as increases in informal payment mechanisms for health care, indicate that re-engagement is still insuffi cient.

Elsewhere, but most spectacularly in lowincome countries and fragile states, the absence or withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities for health refl ects broader conditions of economic stagnation, political and social crisis and poor governance

19

. In such conditions, public leadership has often become dysfunctional and de-institutionalized

20

, a weakness that is compounded by a lack of fi nancial leverage to steer the health sector. Global development policies have often added to the diffi culties governments face in assuming their responsibilities, for at least two reasons.

Q

The global development agenda of the 1980s and 1990s was dominated by concern for the problems created by too much state involvement

21

. The structural adjustment and downsizing recipes of these decades still constrain the reconstruction of leadership capacity today. Public fi nancing in the poorest countries became unpredictable, making medium-term commitments to the growth of the health sector diffi cult or impossible. Health planning based on needs became the exception rather than the rule, since key fi scal decisions were

Q taken with little understanding of the potential consequences for the health sector and health ministries were unable to make an effective case for prioritizing budget increases

22

.

For decades, the international community’s health agenda – including that of WHO – has been structured around diseases and interventions rather than around the broader challenges being faced by health systems. While this agenda has certainly contributed to a better appreciation of the burden of disease affecting poor countries, it has also profoundly infl uenced the structure of governmental and quasi-governmental institutions in low- and middle-income countries. The resulting fragmentation of the governance of the health sector has diverted attention from important issues, such as the organization of primary care, the control of the commercialization of the health sector and human resources for health crises.

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The untoward consequences of this trend are most marked in aid-dependent countries because it has shaped the way funds are channelled

23

.

The disproportionate investment in a limited number of disease programmes considered as global priorities in countries that are dependent on external support has diverted the limited energies of ministries of health away from their primary role as mediator in the comprehensive planning of primary care and the public’s health.

Box 5.1

From withdrawal to re-engagement in China

During the 1980s and 1990s, reduced Government engagement in the health sector exposed increasing numbers of Chinese households to catastrophic expenditures for health care. As a result, millions of families in both rural and urban areas found themselves unable to meet the costs and were effectively excluded from health care. In cities, the Government Insurance Scheme (GIS) and Labour

Insurance Scheme (LIS) had previously covered more than half of the population with either full or partial health insurance. However, the structural weaknesses of these schemes reached critical levels under the impact of accelerating economic change in the 1990s.

The percentage of China’s urban population not covered by any health insurance or health plan rose from 27.3% in 1993 to 44.1% in

1998

14

. By the end of the century, out-of-pocket payments made up more than 60% of health expenditure. This crisis spurred efforts to invert the trend: pooling and pre-payment schemes were bolstered in 1998 with the introduction of Basic Medical Insurance (BMI) for urban employees.

Financed through compulsory contributions from workers and employers, the BMI aims to replace the old GIS and LIS systems. The

BMI has aimed for breadth of coverage with a relatively modest depth of benefi ts, linked to fl exibility that can enable the development of different types of packages according to local needs in the participating municipalities. Structurally, the BMI fund is divided into two parts: individual savings accounts and social pooling funds. Generally speaking, the fi nancial contribution from an employee’s salary or wages goes to his or her individual savings account, while the employer’s contribution is split between the individual savings accounts and the social pooling fund, applying different percentages according to the age group of employees.

Financial resources under the new BMI are pooled at municipal or city level, instead of by individual enterprises, which signifi cantly strengthens the capacity for risk sharing. Each municipal government has developed its own regulations on the use of the resources of individual savings accounts and social pooling funds (the two structural parts of the system). The individual savings accounts cover outpatient services, while the social pooling fund is meant to cover inpatient expenditures

14

.

Signifi cant diffi culties with the BMI model remain to be ironed out, in particular as regards equity. For example, studies indicate that, in urban areas, better-off populations have been quicker to benefi t from the provisions of the BMI than households with very low incomes, while informal sector workers remain on the margins of the scheme. Nonetheless, the BMI has made progress in expanding health insurance coverage and access to services among China’s urban population, and is instrumental in reversing the deleterious trends of the 1980s and 1990s and, at the same time, assigning a new, intermediary role to government institutions.

Figure 5.2

Health expenditure in China: withdrawal of the State in the 1980s and 1990s and recent re-engagement

Percentage of total health expenditure

100

80

60

Out-of-pocket expenditure

Pre-paid private expenditure

Social security expenditure

Other general government expenditure

40

20

0

1965

1970 1975 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Sources: 1965 to 1975

15

; 1978 to 1994

16

; 1995 to 2006

4

.

84

Chapter 5.

Leadership and effective government

As a result, multiple, fragmented funding streams and segmented service delivery are leading to duplication, ineffi ciencies and counterproductive competition for resources between different programmes. Consequently, the massive mobilization of global solidarity has not been able to offset a growing estrangement between country needs and global support, and between people’s expectations for decent care and the priorities set by their health-sector managers. Moreover, the growth in aid-fl ow mechanisms and new implementing institutions has further heightened the degree of complexity faced by weak government bureaucracies in donor-dependent countries, increasing transaction costs for those countries that can least afford them

24

. So much effort is required to respond to international partners’ short-term agendas that little energy is left to deal with the multiple domestic stakeholders – professions, civil society organizations, politicians, and others – where, in the long run, leadership matters most. As advocates have rightly argued in recent years, better inter-donor coordination is not going to solve this problem on its own: there is also an urgent need for reinvestment in governance capacity.

Participation and negotiation

The necessary reinvestment in governmental or quasi-governmental institutions cannot mean a return to command-and-control health governance. Health systems are too complex: the domains of the modern state and civil society are interconnected, with constantly shifting boundaries

25

. Professions play a major role in how health is governed

26

, while, as mentioned in Chapter

2, social movements and quasi-governmental autonomous institutions have become complex and infl uential political actors

27

. Patients, professions, commercial interests and other groups are organizing themselves in order to improve their negotiating position and to protect their interests.

Ministries of health are, also, far from homogenous: individuals and programmes compete for infl uence and resources, adding to the complexity of promoting change. Effective mediation in health must replace overly simplistic management models of the past and embrace new mechanisms for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue to work out the strategic orientations for PHC reforms

28

.

At the core of policy dialogue is the participation of the key stakeholders. As countries modernize, their citizens attribute more value to social accountability and participation. Throughout the world, increasing prosperity, intellectual skills and social connectivity are associated with people’s rising aspiration to have more say

29

in what happens at their workplaces and in their communities − hence the importance of people-centredness and community participation − and in important government decisions that affect their lives − hence the importance of involving civil society in the social debate on health policies

30

.

Another reason that policy dialogue is so important is that PHC reforms require a broad policy dialogue to put the expectations of various stakeholders in perspective, to weigh up need, demand and future challenges, and to resolve the inevitable confrontations such reforms imply

31

.

Health authorities and ministries of health, which have a primary role, have to bring together the decision-making power of the political authorities, the rationality of the scientifi c community, the commitment of the professionals, and the values and resources of civil society

32

. This is a process that requires time and effort (Box 5.2). It would be an illusion to expect PHC policy formation to be wholly consensual, as there are too many confl icting interests. However, experience shows that the legitimacy of policy choices depends less on total consensus than on procedural fairness and transparency

33,34,35

.

Without a structured, participatory policy dialogue, policy choices are vulnerable to appropriation by interest groups, changes in political personnel or donor fi ckleness. Without a social consensus, it is also much more diffi cult to engage effectively with stakeholders whose interests diverge from the options taken by PHC reforms, including other sectors that compete for society’s resources; for the “medico-industrial complex”

36

, for whom PHC reform may imply a realignment of their industrial strategy and for vested interests, such as those of the tobacco or alcohol industries, where effective PHC reform constitutes a direct threat.

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86

Box 5.2

Steering national directions with the help of policy dialogue: experience from three countries

In Canada, a Commission examining the future of health care drew on inputs from focus group discussions and public hearings. Diverse stakeholders and groups of the public made clear the value placed by Canadians on equitable access to high-quality care, based on need and regardless of ability to pay. At the same time, the Commission had to ensure that this debate would be fed by evidence from top policy experts on the realities of the country’s health system. Of critical importance was the evidence that public fi nancing of health care not only achieves goals of equity, but also those of effi ciency, in view of the higher administrative costs associated with private fi nancing. The discussion on values and the relevant evidence were then brought together in a policy report in 2002 that set out the direction for a responsive, sustainable and publicly funded PHC system, considered to be “the highest expression of Canadians caring for one another”

37

. The strong uptake by policy-makers of the Commission’s recommendations refl ects the robustness of the evidence-informed analysis and public engagement.

In Brazil, the fi rst seven

Conferências Nacionais de Saúde,

the platform for national policy dialogue in the health sector between 1941 and 1977, had a distinctly top-down and public-sector-only fl avour, with a classic progression from national plans to programmes and extension of the network of basic health services. The watershed came with the 8th conference in 1980: the number of participants increased from a few hundred to 4000, from a wide range of constituencies. This and subsequent

conferências

pursued agendas that were driven far more than before by values of health democracy, access, quality, humanization of care and social control. The 12th national conference, in 2003, ushered in a third consolidation phase: 3000 delegates, 80% of them elected, and a focus on health as a right for all and a duty of the State

38

.

Thailand went through similar phases. The extension of basic health care coverage by a proactive Ministry of Health, encouraged by the lobby of the Rural Doctors Association, resulted in the 1992 launch of the Decade of Health Centre Development. After the 1994 economic crisis, ministry offi cials started mobilizing civil society and academia around the universal coverage agenda, convening a few thousand delegates to the First Health Care Reform Forum in 1997. Liaison with the political world soon followed, with a bold move towards universal access and social protection known as the “30 Baht policy”

39

. With the National Health Act of 2007, stakeholder participation has been institutionalized through a National Health Commission that includes health professionals, civil society members and politicians.

Effective policy dialogue

The institutional capacities to enable a productive policy dialogue are not a given. They are typically weak in countries where, by choice or by default, laissez-faire dominates the approach to policy formation in health. Even in countries with mature and well-resourced health systems there is scope, and need, for more systematic and institutionalized approaches: negotiation between health authorities and professional institutions is often well established, but is much less so with other stakeholders and usually limited to discussions on resource allocation for service delivery.

Policy dialogue must be built. How to do that depends very much on context and background.

Experience from countries that have been able to accelerate PHC reforms suggests three common elements of effective policy dialogue:

Q

Q

Q the importance of making information systems instrumental to PHC reform; systematically harnessing innovations; and sharing lessons on what works.

Information systems to strengthen policy dialogue

Policy dialogue on PHC reforms needs to be informed, not just by better data, but also by information obtained through a departure from traditional views on the clients, the scope and the architecture of national health information systems (Figure 5.3).

Many national health information systems that are used to inform policy can be characterized as closed administrative structures through which there is a limited fl ow of data on resource use, services and health status. They are often only used to a limited extent by offi cials at national and global level when formulating policy reforms, while little use is made of critical information that could be extracted from other tools and sources

(census data, household expenditure or opinion surveys, academic institutions, NGOs, health insurance agencies, etc.), many of which are located outside the public system or even outside the health sector.

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Leadership and effective government

Routine data from traditional health information systems fails to respond to the rising demand for health-related information from a multitude of constituencies. Citizens need easier access to their own health records, which should inform them about the progress being made in their treatment plans and allow them to participate in decisions related to their own health and that of their families and communities. Communities and civil society organizations need better information to protect their members’ health, reduce exclusion and promote equity. Health professionals need better information to improve the quality of their work, and to improve coordination and integration of services. Politicians need information on how well the health system is meeting

Q

Q are authorities effective in ensuring protection against exclusion from care? are they effective in ensuring protection against exploitation by commercial providers?

Such questions go well beyond what can be answered by tracking health outcome indicators, resource use and service output, which is what conventional health information systems focus on.

The paradigm shift required to make information systems instrumental to PHC reform is to refocus on what is holding up progress in reorienting the health system. Better identifi cation of priority society’s goals and on how public money is being used.

Information that can be used to steer change at the policy level is quite different from the data that most conventional health information systems currently produce. There is a need to monitor what the reforms are achieving across the range of social values and the associated outhealth problems and trends is important (and vital to anticipate future challenges) but, from a policy point of view, the crucial information is that which allows identifi cation of the operational and systemic constraints. In low-income countries in particular, where planning has long been structured along epidemiological considerations, this can provide a new and dynamic basis for orienting systems development

40

. The report by the Bangladesh Health Watch on the state of the country’s health workforce, for example, identicomes that are central to PHC: equity, people-centredness, protection of the health of communities and participation. That means asking questions such as:

Q

Q

Q is care comprehensive, integrated, continuous and effective? is access guaranteed and are people aware of what they are entitled to? are people protected against the economic consequences of ill-health? users implies that the way health information is generated, shared and used also has to evolve.

This critically depends on accessibility and trans-

Figure 5.3

Transforming information systems into instruments for PHC reform

From

Ministry of health

Monitor routine data on:

Q

morbidity

Q

resource usage

Q

service production

Clients

Scope

To

fi ed such systemic constraints and corresponding recommendations for the consideration of health authorities

41

.

The multiplication of information needs and parency, for example, by making all health-related information readily accessible via the Internet – as in Chile, where effective communication was considered both an outcome

Multiple users, producers and stakeholders

Q

Produce intelligence to understand challenges

Q

Monitor performance towards social objectives

Q

Identify system constraints

and a motor of their “Regime of Explicit Health Guarantees”.

PHC reform calls for open and collaborative models to ensure that all the best sources of data are tapped and information fl ows quickly to those who can translate it into appropriate

Information fl owing upwards within the public sector hierarchy

Architecture

Open knowledge networks with multiple collaborating institutions; transparency essential

action.

Open and col laborat ive structures, such as the “Observatories” or “Equity Gauges” offer specifi c models of complementing routine information

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systems, by directly linking the production and dissemination of intelligence on health and social care to policy-making and to the sharing of best practices

42

. They refl ect the increasing value given to cross-agency work, health inequalities and evidence-based policy-making. They bring together various constituencies, such as academia, NGOs, professional associations, corporate providers, unions, user representatives, governmental institutions and others, around a shared agenda of monitoring trends, studies, information sharing, policy development and policy dialogue (Box 5.3).

Paradoxically, these open and fl exible confi gurations provide continuity in settings where administrative and policy continuity may be affected by a rapid turnover of decision-makers.

In the Americas, there are observatories that specifi cally focus on human resource issues in 22 countries. In Brazil, for example, the observatory is a network of more than a dozen participating institutions (referred to as “workstations”): university institutes, research centres and a federal offi ce, coordinated through a secretariat based at the Ministry of Health and the Brasilia offi ce of PAHO

44

. These networks played a key role in setting up Brazil’s current PHC initiatives. Such national and sub-national structures also exist in various European countries, including France,

Italy and Portugal

45

. Comparatively autonomous, such state/non-state multi-stakeholder networks can cover a wide range of issues and be sensitive to local agendas. In the United Kingdom, each regional observatory takes the lead on specifi c

Box 5.3

Equity Gauges: stakeholderholder collaboration to tackle health inequalities

43

Equity Gauges are partnerships of multiple stakeholders that organize active monitoring and remedial action around inequity in health and health care. So far, they have been established in 12 countries on three continents. Some operate at a countrywide level, some monitor a subset of districts or provinces in a country, a few operate at a regional level and others focus specifi cally on equity within a city or municipality; nine have a national focus and three work at the municipal level (in Cape Town (South Africa), El Tambo (Ecuador) and Nairobi (Kenya). The Equity Gauges bring together stakeholders representing a diversity of local contexts, including parliamentarians and councillors, the media, ministries and departments of health, academic institutions, churches, traditional leaders, women’s associations, community-based and nongovernmental organizations, local authority organizations and civic groups. Such a diversity of stakeholders not only encourages wide social and political investment, but also supports capacity development within countries.

Equity Gauges develop an active approach to monitoring and dealing with inequity in health and health care. They move beyond a mere description or passive monitoring of equity indicators to a set of specifi c actions designed to effect real and sustained change in reducing unfair disparities in health and health care. This work entails an ongoing set of strategically planned and coordinated actions that involves a range of different actors who cut across a number of different disciplines and sectors.

The Equity Gauge strategy is explicitly based on three “pillars of action”. Each one is considered to be equally important and essential to a successful outcome and all three are developed in parallel:

Q

Q

Q research and monitoring to measure and describe inequities; advocacy and public participation to promote the use of information to effect change, involving a broad range of stakeholders from civil society working together in a movement for equity; community involvement to involve poor and marginalized people as active participants in decision-making rather than passive recipients of measures designed for their benefi t.

The Equity Gauge strategy consists, therefore, of a set of interconnected and overlapping actions – it is not, as the name might suggest, just a set of measurements. For example, the selection of equity indicators for measurement and monitoring should take account of the views of community groups and consider what would be useful from an advocacy perspective. In turn, the advocacy pillar relies on reliable indicators developed by the measurement pillar and may involve community members or public fi gures.

Equity Gauges choose indicators according to the particular needs of the country as well as of the stakeholders. Emphasis is placed, however, on generating trend data within all Gauges to enable understanding of progress over time. Indicators are measured across a variety of dimensions of health, including health status; health-care fi nancing and resource allocation; access to health care; and quality of health care (such as maternal and child health, communicable diseases and trauma). All indicators are disaggregated according to the

“PROGRESS” acronym that describes a broad range of socioeconomic factors often associated with inequities in health determinants:

Place of residence, Religion, Occupation, Gender, Race/ethnicity, Education, Socioeconomic status and Social networks/capital.

88

Chapter 5.

Leadership and effective government

issues, such as inequalities, primary care, violence and health, or the health of older people

46

.

All cover a wide range of issues of regional relevance (Table 5.1): they thus institutionalize the linkages between local developments and countrywide policy-making.

Strengthening policy dialogue with innovations from the fi eld

These links between local reality and policy-making conditions the design and implementation of

PHC reforms. The build up to the introduction of

Thailand’s “30 Baht” universal coverage scheme provides an example of a deliberate attempt to infuse policy deliberations with learning from the fi eld. Leaders of Thailand’s reform process organized a mutually reinforcing interplay between policy development at the central level and “fi eld model development” in the country’s provinces. Health workers on the periphery and civil society organizations were given the space to develop and test innovative approaches to care delivery, to see how well they met both professional standards and community expectations

(Figure 5.4). Field model development activities, which were supported by the Ministry of Health, were organized and managed at provincial level, and extensively discussed and negotiated with provincial contracts. Each province developed its own strategies to deal with its specifi c problems.

The large amount of fl exibility given to the provinces in deciding their own work programmes had the advantage of promoting ownership, fostering creativity and allowing original ideas to come forward. It also built local capacities.

The downside to the high level of autonomy of the provinces was a tendency to multiply initiatives, making it diffi cult to evaluate the results to be fed into the policy work in a systematic way.

Figure 5.4

Mutual reinforcement between innovation in the fi eld and policy development in the health reform process

Policy a mobilization and development

Demonstration, diffusion and pressure for change

Identify opportunities and alliances

Field model development

Table 5.1

Roles and functions of public-health observatories in England

42

Roles

Monitoring health and disease trends and highlighting areas for action

Identifying gaps in health information

Functions

a

Study on the inequalities existing in coronary heart disease, together with recommendations for action

47

Advising on methods for health and health inequality impact assessment

Drawing together information from different sources in new ways to improve health

Study of current information sources and gaps on perinatal and infant health

48

Overview of health impact assessment

49

Health profi le using housing and employment data alongside health data

50

Carrying out projects to highlight particular health issues

Evaluating progress by local agencies in improving health and eliminating inequality

A study of the dental health of fi veyear-olds in the Region

51

Baselines and trend data

Looking ahead to give early warning of future public health problems

Forum for partners to address likely future public health issues such as the ageing population and genetics a

Example: Northern and Yorkshire Public Health Observatory.

On balance, however, the diffi culties due to the locally-driven approach were compensated for by the positive effects related to reform dynamics and capacity building. By 2001, nearly half of Thailand’s 76 provinces were experimenting with organizational innovation, most of it around issues of equitable access, local health-care systems and community health

52

.

Thailand’s “30 Baht” universal coverage reform was a bold political initiative to improve health equity. Its transformation into a concrete reality was made possible through the accumulated experience from the fi eld and through the alliances the fi eldwork had built between health workers, civil society organizations and the public. When the scheme was launched in 2001, these provinces were ready to pilot and implement the

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scheme. Furthermore, the organizational models they had developed informed the translation of political commitment to universal coverage into concrete measures and regulations

53

.

This mutually reinforcing process of linking policy development with learning from the fi eld is important for several reasons:

Q it taps the wealth of latent knowledge and inno-

Q vation within the health sector; bold experiments in the fi eld give front-line workers, system leaders and the public an inspiring glimpse of what the future might look like in a health system shaped by PHC values.

This overcomes one of the greatest obstacles to bold change in systems − people’s inability to imagine that things could actually be different

Q

Q and be an opportunity rather than a threat; the linking of policy development with frontline action fosters alliances and support from within the sector, without which far-reaching reform is not sustainable; such processes engage society both locally and at national level, generating the demand for change that is essential in building political commitment and maintaining the momentum for reform.

Building a critical mass of capacity for change

The stimulation of open, collaborative structures that supply reforms with strategic intelligence and harness innovation throughout the health system requires a critical mass of committed and experienced people and institutions. They must not only carry out technical and organizational tasks, but they must also be able to balance fl exibility and coherence, adapt to new ways of working, and build credibility and legitimacy

54

.

However, that critical mass of people and institutions is often not available

31

. Institutions in low-income countries that have suffered from decades of neglect and disinvestment are of particular concern. They are often short on credibility and starved of resources, while key staff may have found more rewarding working environments with partner agencies. Poor governance complicates matters, and is compounded by international pressure for state minimalism and the disproportionate infl uence of the donor community. The conventional responses to leadership capacity shortfalls in such settings, which are characterized by a heavy reliance on external technical assistance, toolkits and training, have been disappointing (Box 5.4). They need to be replaced by more systematic and sustainable approaches in order to institutionalize competencies that learn from and share experience

55

.

Documented evidence of how individual and institutional policy dialogue and leadership capacities build up over time is hard to fi nd, but a set of extensive interviews of health sector leaders in six countries shows that personal career trajectories are shaped by a combination of three decisive experiences

56

.

Q

Q

Q

At some point in their careers, all had been part of a major sectoral programme or project, particularly in the area of basic health services. Many of them refer to this as a formative experience: it is where they learned about

PHC, but also where they forged a commitment and started building critical alliances and partnerships.

Many became involved in national planning exercises, which strengthened their capacity to generate and use information and, again, their capacity to build alliances and partnerships.

Few had participated personally in major studies or surveys, but those who had, found it an opportunity to hone their skills in generating and analyzing information.

All indicated the importance of cooptation and coaching by their elders: “

You have to start out as a public health doctor and be noticed in one of the networks that infl uence decision making in MOH. After that your personal qualities and learning by doing [determine whether you’ll get to be in a position of leadership].

56

These personal histories of individual capacity strengthening are corroborated by more in-depth analysis of the factors that contributed to the institutional capacities for steering the health sector in these same countries. Table 5.2 shows that opportunities to learn from large-scale health-systems development programmes have contributed most, confi rming the importance of hands-on engagement with the problems of the health sector in a collaborative environment.

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Box 5.4

Limitations of conventional capacity building in low- and middle-income countries

55

The development community has always tended to respond to the consequences of institutional disinvestment in low- and middleincome countries through its traditional arsenal of technical assistance and expert support, toolkits and training (Figure 5.5). From the 1980s onwards, however, it became clear that such “technical assistance” was no longer relevant

58

and the response re-invented itself as “project management units” concentrating on planning, fi nancial management and monitoring.

The second mainstay response to the capacity problem has been the multiplication of planning, management and programme toolkits.

These toolkits promise to solve technical problems encountered by countries while aiming for self-reliance. For all their potential, rigour and evidence base, the usefulness of toolkits in the fi eld has often not lived up to expectations for four main reasons.

Q They often underestimate the complexity of the problems they are supposed to deal with

62

.

The stronger health systems were able to benefit from the resources and innovation that came with projects but, in others, the picture was much more mixed. As a recurrent irritant to national authorities, accountability to funding agencies often proved stronger than commitment to national development: demonstrating project results took precedence over capacity building and long-term development

59

, giving disproportionate weight to project managers at the expense of policy coherence and country leadership. In more recent years, the wish to reinforce country ownership

– and changes in the way donors purchase technical assistance services – paved the way for a shift from project management to

Q The introduction of toolkits is largely supply driven and linked to institutional interests, which makes it diffi cult for countries to choose among the multitude of competing tools that are proposed. the supply of short-term expertise through external consultants.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the expertise was essentially provided by academic institutions and the in-house experts of bilateral cooperation and United Nations agencies. The increased volume of funding for technical support contributed to shifting the expertise market to freelance consultants and consultancy fi rms, so that expertise has become increasingly provided on a one-time basis, by technical experts whose understanding of the systemic and local political context is necessarily limited

60

.

8000

The capacity-building prescription that completes the spectrum is training. Sometimes, this is part of a coherent strategy: Morocco’s

Ministry of Health, for example, has applied a saturation training approach similar to that of Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance

65

, send-

Figure 5.5

ing out large numbers of young professionals for training in order to build up a recruitment

A growing market: technical cooperation as part of Official

Development Aid for Health. Yearly aid flows in 2005,

deflator base of qualifi ed staff and, eventually, a critical mass of leaders. Such deliberate approaches, however, are

Millions I$ 2005

14 000

12 000

10 000

Other health aid

Technical cooperation HIV/AIDS

Technical cooperation health rare. Much more common are short “hotel” training courses that mix technical objectives and exchange with implicit aims to top-up salaries and buy political goodwill. The prevailing scepticism about the usefulness of such pro-

In 2006, technical cooperation constituted 41% of total overseas development aid for health.

Adjusted for infl ation, its volume tripled between

1999 and 2006, particularly through expansion of

6000

4000

2000

0

2002

11%

36%

2003 technical cooperation on

HIV/AIDS. Adapting to the complexities of the aid architecture, experts and consultants now also increasingly act as intermediaries between countries and the donor community: harmonization

2004

Q

Q

They often rely on international expertise for their implementation, thereby defeating one of their main purposes, which is to equip countries with the ways and means to deal with their problems themselves.

Some have not delivered the promised technical results led to unexpected untoward side-effects

64

.

63

or

2005 2006

20%

21% grammes (systematic evaluation is uncommon) contrasts sharply with the resources they mobilize, at a considerable opportunity cost.

In the meantime, new markets in education, training and virtual learning are developing, while actors in low- and middle-income countries can access Internet sites on most health systems issues and establish electronic communihas become a growth business, lack of country capacity fuelling further disempowerment.

ties of practice. With contemporary information technology and globalization, traditional recipes for capacity development in poor countries are quickly becoming obsolete

54

.

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92

Table 5.2

Signifi cant factors in improving institutional capacity for health-sector governance in six countries

a,

56

No. of countries where factor was an important contributor

Average score for strength of contribution Factors

b

Sector programmes/ large-scale projects

4 7.25

Establishment of institutions

National policy debate events

Research, studies and situation analysis

3

3

4

6.7

5.6

5.1

New planning and management tools

1 5 a

Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia.

b

Identifi ed through document analysis and interviews with 136 key informants.

Especially noteworthy is the fact that the introduction of tools was rarely identifi ed as a critical input, and respondents did not highlight inputs from experts and training.

The implication is that the key investment for capacity building for PHC reforms should be to create opportunities for learning by linking individuals and institutions to ongoing reform processes. A further consideration is the importance of doing so in an environment where exchange, within and between countries, is facilitated. Unlike the conventional approaches to capacity building, exchange and exposure to the experience of others enhances self-reliance.

This is not just a recipe for under-resourced and poorly performing countries. Portugal, for example, has organized a broad societal debate on its 2004−2010 National Health Plan involving a pyramid of participation platforms from local and regional to national level, and 108 substantial contributions to the plan from sources ranging from civil society and professional organizations to local governments and academia. At three critical moments in the process, international panels of experts were also invited from other countries to act as sounding boards for their policy debate: a collaboration that was a learning exercise for all parties

57

.

Managing the political process: from launching reform to implementing it

PHC reforms change the balance of power within the health sector and the relationship between health and society. Success depends not only on a credible technical vision, but also on the ability to obtain the high-level political endorsement and the wider commitment that is necessary to mobilize governmental, fi nancial and other institutional machineries.

As a technical sector, health rarely has prominence in the hierarchy of the political arena.

Ministries of health have often had enough to deal with simply trying to resolve the technical challenges internal to the sector. They are traditionally ill at ease, short of leverage and ill equipped to make their case in the wider political arena, particularly in low- and low-middleincome countries.

The general lack of political infl uence limits the ability of health authorities, and of other stakeholders in the PHC movement, to advance the PHC agenda, especially when it challenges the interests of other constituencies. It explains the frequently absent or overly cautious reactions against the health effects of working conditions and environmental damage, or the slow implementation of regulations that may interfere with the commercial interests of the food and tobacco industry. Similarly, ambitious reform efforts are often diluted or watered down under the infl uence of the donor community, the pharmaceutical and the health technology industries, or the professional lobbies

26,66

.

Lack of political infl uence also has consequences within governmental spheres. Ministries of health are in a particularly weak position in low- and low-middle-income countries, as is evidenced by the fact that they can claim only

4.5% and 1.7%, respectively, of total government expenditure (against 10% and 17.7%, respectively, in upper-middle and high-income countries)

67

.

The lack of prominence of health priorities in wider development strategies, such as the Poverty

Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), is another illustration of that weakness

68

. Equally, ministries of health are often absent in discussions about caps on social (and health) spending, which

Chapter 5.

Leadership and effective government

are dominated by debates on macroeconomic stability, infl ation targets or sustainable debt. It is telling that, in highly indebted countries, the health sector’s efforts to obtain a share of the debt relief funds have been generally slow, less than forceful and unconvincing compared to education, foregoing possibilities for rapid expansion of their resource base

69

.

Despite these challenges, there is a growing indication that the political will for ambitious reforms based on PHC is taking place. India’s health missions − “rural” and subsequently

“urban” − are accompanied by a doubling of public expenditure on health. China is preparing an extremely ambitious rural PHC reform that also includes a major commitment of public resources.

The size and comprehensiveness of PHC-oriented reforms in Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia, the Islamic

Republic of Iran, New Zealand, Thailand and many other countries, refl ect very clearly that it is not unrealistic to mobilize political will. Even in extremely unfavourable circumstances, it has proven possible to gain credibility and political clout through pragmatic engagement with political and economic forces (Box 5.5).

Experience across these countries shows that political endorsement of PHC reforms critically depends on a reform programme that is formulated in terms that show its potential political dividends. To do that it has to:

Q

Q

Q respond explicitly to rising demand as well as to the health challenges and health system constraints the country faces, showing that it is not merely a technical programme, but one rooted in concerns relevant to society; specify the expected health, social and political returns, as well as the relevant costs, in order to demonstrate the expected political mileage as well as its affordability; be visibly based on the key constituencies’ consensus to tackle the obstacles to PHC, providing reassurance of the reforms’ political feasibility.

Creating the political alignment and commitment to reform, however, is only a fi rst step.

Insuffi cient preparation of its implementation is often the weak point. Of particular importance is an understanding of resistance to change, particularly from health workers

70,71,72,73

. While the intuition of leadership has its merits, it is also possible to organize more systematic exercises to anticipate and respond to the potential reactions of stakeholders and the public: political mapping exercises, as in Lebanon

34

; marketing studies and opinion polls, as in the United States

74

; public hearings, as in Canada; or sector-wide meetings of stakeholders, as in the

Etats Généraux de la

Santé

in French-speaking Africa. Delivering on

PHC reforms requires a sustained management capacity across levels of the system, embedded in institutions that are fi t for the purpose. In

Chile, for example, administrative structures and competencies across the whole of the Ministry of Health are being redefi ned in line with the

PHC reforms. Such structural changes are not suffi cient. They need to be instigated in conjunction with changes in the organizational culture, from one of issuing decrees for change to a more inclusive collaboration with a variety of stakeholders across the levels of the health system.

That in turn requires the institutionalization of policy-dialogue mechanisms drawing practicebased knowledge up from the ground level to inform overall systems governance, while reinforcing social linkages and collaborative action among constituencies at community level

75

. This management capacity should not be assumed, it requires active investment.

Even with effective political dialogue to gain consensus on specifi c PHC reforms and the requisite management for implementation across levels of the system, many such reforms do not have their intended impact. The best-planned and executed policy reforms often run into unanticipated challenges or rapidly changing contexts.

Broad experience in dealing with complex systems behaviour suggests that signifi cant shortfalls or shifts away from articulated goals are to be expected. An important component to build into the reform processes is mechanisms that can pick up signifi cant unintended consequences or deviations from expected performance benchmarks, which allow for course corrections during implementation.

Widespread evidence on inequities in health and health care in virtually all countries is a humbling reminder of the diffi culties confronting

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Box 5.5

Rebuilding leadership in health in the aftermath of war and economic collapse

Recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo show how renewed leadership can emerge even under extremely challenging conditions. The beginnings of the reconstruction of the country’s health system, devastated by economic collapse and state failure culminating in a brutal war is, above all, a story of skilful political management.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo had seen a number of successful experiences in PHC development at the district level during the 1970s and early 1980s. The economic and political turmoil from the mid-1980s onwards saw central government authority in health disintegrate, with an extreme pauperization of the health system and the workers within it. Health workers developed a multiplicity of survival strategies, charging patients and capitalizing on the many aid-funded projects, with little regard for the consequences for the health system. Donors and international partners lost confi dence in the district model of integrated service delivery in the country and instead chose to back stand-alone disease control and humanitarian aid programmes. While, between country) in an open structure around the Ministry. This steering group drafted a national health systems strengthening strategy.

It included (i) a progressive roll-out of integrated services, district by district, coordinated through regional plans and backed by a fundamental shift in funding from programme-specifi c fl ows to system funding; (ii) a set of protective “damage-control” measures to halt institutional infl ation and prevent further distortion of the system; and (iii) an explicit plan to tackle the problem of donor fragmentation, which had reached critical proportions. In designing the strategy, the steering group made deliberate efforts to set up networks within the health sector itself and alliances with other government actors and social constituencies.

The formal endorsement of the national plan by donors and civil society sent a strong political signal of the success of this new mode of working. The national health systems strengthening strategy became the health component of the national poverty reduction strategy. Donors and international partners aligned existing projects, albeit to a variable degree, while others reshaped new

1999 and 2002, the Ministry of Health commanded less than 0.5% of total government expenditure, its central administration and its

Department of Planning and Studies – 15 staff in total – faced the overwhelming task of providing guidance to some 25 bilateral and

As the intensity of civil strife abated, a number of key

250

Vertical programmes

Support to health districts initiatives to fi t the national strategy. multilateral agencies, more than 60 international and 200 national

NGOs, 53 disease control programmes (with 13 government donor coordination committees) and 13 provincial ministries of health – not forgetting health-care structures organized by private companies and universities.

Figure 5.6

US$ millions

300

Humanitarian aid funding for health (Figure 5.6). The proportion of funds dedicated to general systems strengthening under provincial and district

Re-emerging national leadership in health: the shift in donor funding towards integrated health systems support, and its impact on the

Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 2004 PHC strategy plans has increased appreciably in relation to the level of funding earmarked for disease control and humanitarian relief programmes.

The advances remain fragile, in a context where much of the health sector – including

Ministry of Health staff took it upon themselves to revitalize

200

Perhaps the most powerful testimony to the effective management of this process is the change in the composition of donor its governance – needs to be reconstructed.

and update the district model of primary health care. Aware

150

Nevertheless, the national strategy has strong roots in of the marginal position of the

Ministry in the health sector, they co-opted the “internal diaspora” (former civil serv-

100

50

0 fi eldwork and, in a remarkable turnaround against high odds, the Ministry of Health has gained credibility with ants now working for the many international develop-

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 other stakeholders and has improved its position in renement agencies present in the gotiating the fi nances of the health sector.

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Chapter 5.

Leadership and effective government

PHC reforms. This chapter has emphasized that leadership for greater equity in health must be an effort undertaken by the whole of society and engage all relevant stakeholders. Mediating multistakeholder dialogues around ambitious reforms be they for universal coverage or primary care places a high premium on effective government.

This requires re-orienting information systems the better to inform and evaluate reforms, building fi eld-based innovations into the design and redesign of reforms, and drawing on experienced and committed individuals to manage the direction and implementation of reforms. While not a recipe, these elements of leadership and effective government constitute in and of themselves a major focus of reform for PHC. Without reforms in leadership and effective government, other PHC reforms are very unlikely to succeed.

While necessary, therefore, they are not suffi cient conditions for PHC reforms to succeed.

The next chapter describes how the four sets of

PHC reforms must be adapted to vastly different national contexts while mobilizing a common set of drivers to advance equity in health.

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Waldman R.

Health programming for rebuilding states: a briefi ng paper

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The way

forward

The starkly different social, economic and health realities faced by countries must inform the way forward for primary health care. This chapter discusses the implications for the way universal coverage, primary care, public policy and

Chapter 6

leadership reforms are operationalized.

Adapting reforms to country context

100

It shows how expanding health systems

High-expenditure health economies

101

offer opportunities for PHC reform in virtually every country. Despite the need

Rapid-growth health economies

103

for contextual specifi city, there are crosscutting elements in the reforms, common

Low-expenditure, lowgrowth health economies

Mobilizing the drivers of reform

to all countries, which provide a basis for globally shared learning and understanding about how PHC reforms can be advanced more systematically everywhere.

105

108

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Adapting reforms to country context

Although insuffi ciently acknowledged, the PHC movement has been a critical success in that it has contributed to the recognition of the social value of health systems, which has now taken hold in most countries in the world. This change of mindset has created a radically different health-policy landscape.

Present-day health systems are a patchwork of components, many of which may be far removed from the goals set out 30 years ago. These same health systems are converging. Driven by the demographic, fi nancial and social pressures of modernization, they increasingly share the aims of improved health equity, people-centred care, and a better protection of the health of their populations.

However, that does not mean that health systems across the world will change overnight.

Reorienting a health system is a long-term process, if only because of the long time lag to restructure the workforce

1

and because of the enormous inertia stemming from misaligned fi nancial incentives and inadequate payment systems

2

. Given the countervailing forces and vested interests that drive health systems away from PHC values, reform requires a clear vision for the future. Many countries have understood this and are developing their strategic vision of public policies for health with a perspective of

10 to 20 years.

These visions are often couched in technical terms and are highly vulnerable to electoral cycles. Nevertheless, they are also increasingly driven by what people expect their health authorities to do: secure their health and improve access to care, protect them against catastrophic expenditure and fi nancial exploitation, and guarantee an equitable distribution of resources

3,4

.

As shown throughout this Report, the pressure that stems from these value-based expectations, if used resolutely, can ensure that the vision is not defl ected and safeguard it from capture by short-term vested interests or changes in political leadership.

The protection this offers is greatly reinforced by early implementation. The possibilities to start effecting change as of now exist in virtually all countries: the growth of the health sector provides fi nancial leverage to do so, and globalization is offering some unprecedented opportunities to make use of that leverage.

This does not in any way diminish the need to recognize the widely divergent contexts in which countries fi nd themselves today: the nature of the health challenges they face and their wider socioeconomic reality; and the degree of adaptation to challenges, the level of development and speed at which their health systems expand.

Opportunity for change is largely related to the fl ow of new resources into the health sector.

Across the world, expenditure on health is growing: between 1995 and 2005, it almost doubled from I$ 2.6 to I$ 5.1 trillion. The rate of growth is accelerating: between 2000 and 2005, the total amount spent on health in the world increased by

I$ 330 billion on average each year, against an average of I$ 197 billion in each of the fi ve previous years. Health expenditure is growing faster than GDP and faster than population growth. The net result is that, with some exceptions, health spending per capita grows at a rate of more than

5% per year throughout the world.

This common trend in the growth in health expenditure masks a greater than 300-fold variation across countries in per capita expenditure, which ranges from less than I$ 20 per capita to well over I$ 6 000. These disparities stratify countries into three categories: high-expenditure health economies, rapid-growth health economies, and low-expenditure, low-growth health economies.

The high-expenditure health economies, not surprisingly, are those of the nearly 1 billion people living in high-income countries. In 2005, these countries spent on average I$ 3752 per capita on health, I$ 1563 per capita more than in 1995: a growth rate of 5.5% per year.

At the other extreme is a group of low-expenditure, low-growth health economies: low-income countries in Africa and South- and South-East

Asia, as well as fragile states. They total 2.6 billion inhabitants who spent a mere I$ 103 per capita on health in 2005, against I$ 58 in 1995.

In relative terms, these countries have seen their health expenditure per capita grow at roughly the

100

Chapter 6.

The way forward

same rate as high-expenditure countries: 5.8% each year since 1995, but, in absolute terms, the growth has been disappointingly low.

In between those two groups are the other low- and middle-income countries, those with rapid-growth health economies. The 2.9 billion inhabitants in these countries spent an average of I$ 413 per capita in 2005, more that double the

I$ 189 per capita that they spent in 1995. Health expenditure in these countries has been growing at a rate of 8.1% per year.

These groups differ not only in the rate and size of their growth in health expenditure. A breakdown according to the source of growth reveals strikingly different patterns (Figure 6.1).

In the low-expenditure, low-growth health economies, out-of-pocket payments account for the largest share of the growth, while in rapidgrowth and high-expenditure health economies, increased government expenditure and prepayment mechanisms dominate. Where growth in health expenditure is through pre-payment mechanisms, there is greater opportunity to support PHC reforms: collectively pooled monies are more readily re-allocated towards interventions

Figure 6.1

Contribution of general government, private pre-paid and private out-of-pocket expenditure to the yearly growth in total health expenditure per capita, percentage, weighted averages

5

Yearly growth in per capita health expenditure (percentage)

Out-of-pocket health expenditure

Private pre-paid health expenditure

Government health expenditure

100

80

60

40

20

0

Low-expenditure, low-growth health economies

Rapid-growth health economies

High-expenditure health economies that provide a larger health return on investment than out-of-pocket payments. Conversely, countries where growth is primarily through out-ofpocket expenditures have less leverage to support

PHC reforms. Alarmingly, it is in countries where expenditure is the lowest and the burden of disease highest that there is a real lack of opportunities for harnessing the growth of their health sector for PHC reforms.

The following sections outline broad categories of contexts that can shape responses for PHC reforms.

High-expenditure health economies

This group of countries funds almost 90% of its growth in health expenditure – an extra I$ 200 per capita per year in recent years − through increased government and private pre-payment funds. Expanding or changing the offer of services in these countries is less constrained by fi nances than by the relative lack of human resources to meet rising and changing demand. Their health systems are built around a strong and prestigious tertiary care sector that is important to the heavyweights of the pharmaceutical and medical supply industries

2

. Out-of-pocket payments, though still signifi cant at 15% of total expenditure, have been dwarfed by more progressive collective means of fi nancing. The third-party payment institutions have, thus, become central actors while the longstanding autonomy of the health professionals is waning. Efforts to control costs, improve quality and access to disadvantaged groups have given rise to a widening public debate on which users and special interest groups have increasing infl uence. Nevertheless, the state carries more weight in the health sector of these countries than ever before, with increasingly sophisticated regulatory tools and institutions.

Despite worries over their long-term sustainability, the solidarity mechanisms that fi nance these health systems enjoy considerable social consensus. The secular trend towards extension of coverage to all citizens, and, often reluctantly, to non-citizen residents as well, continues. In the state of Massachusetts, the United States, for example, the 2006 health insurance bill aims at 99% coverage by 2010. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly clear that universal

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coverage schemes need to be complemented by efforts: (i) to identify those who are excluded and set up specifi cally tailored programmes to include them; and (ii) to tackle the social determinants of health inequalities through policy initiatives that cut across a large number of sectors (Box 6.1), so as to translate the political commitment to health equity into concrete advances.

In many of these countries, the shift in point of gravity from tertiary and specialized care to primary care is well under way. Better information

Box 6.1

Norway’s national strategy to reduce social inequalities in health

6

Norway’s strategy to reduce health inequalities illustrates that there is no single solution to this complex problem. Norway has identifi ed a large number of determinants that infl uence the health of individuals: income, social support, education, employment, early childhood development, healthy environments and access to health services. These complex and interrelated determinants of health are not equally distributed in society, and it is, therefore, not surprising that this leads to inequities in health as well.

The Norwegian strategy attempts to address the root causes of poor health and health inequity by infl uencing the underlying determinants of health, and making the distribution of these determinants more equitable from the outset. The Norwegian strategy focuses on:

Q

Q reducing social inequities; reducing inequities in health behaviours and access to health services; targeted initiatives to improve social inclusion; and Q

Q cross-sectoral tools to promote a whole-of-government approach to health.

This brings together a number of interventions that are effective in tackling inequities, and that can be applied both within health systems, as well as through cooperation with other sectors. For instance, health systems are able to establish programmes for early childhood development as well as policies that reduce fi nancial, geographical and social barriers to health services for those who need care the most. Working with other sectors, such as labour and fi nance, can create job opportunities and taxation systems that encourage more equitable distribution and redistribution of wealth, which can have a large impact on population health. In addition to universal approaches, social inclusion interventions targeted at providing better living conditions for the most disadvantaged are also critical in reducing the gaps between the most well-off and the least well-off members of society.

and technological developments are creating new opportunities – and a market – for moving much of the traditionally hospital-based care into local services staffed by primary-care teams or even into the hands of patients themselves. This is fuelling a change in perception of how health services should operate. It provides support for primary care, including self-care and home care.

Movement in this direction, however, is held up by inertial forces stemming from the threat of downsizing and dismantling massive tertiary-care facilities and from demand induced by the illusion that the extension of life through technology is unlimited

7

. Technological innovation is indeed a driver of improvement and current trends show that it is expanding the range of services offered by primary-care teams. Technological innovation can, however, also be a driver of exclusion and ineffi ciency. The marked inter-country differences in the diffusion of medical technology are a refl ection, not of rational evaluation, but of the incentives to providers to adopt these technologies, and the capacity to control that adoption

2

.

There are two reasons why the environment in which this is taking place is changing.

Q

Public contestation of the management of technology has continued to increase for reasons of

Q trust, price, exclusion or unmet need.

Regulation increasingly depends on supranational institutions. The European Union’s regulatory system, for example, plays an increasing role in the harmonization of the technical requirements for registering new medicines or of product licencing, offering possibilities, among others, for more effective support to legal provisions encouraging generic substitution for pharmaceuticals in the private sector

8

. Such mechanisms offer opportunities to increase safety and access, and thus create an environment in which national primary care reforms are encouraged.

This comes at a time when the supply of professionals willing and able to engage in primary care is under stress. In Europe, for example, the population of general practitioners is ageing rapidly, and new recruits are more likely than before to opt for part-time or low-intensity careers

1

.

There is pressure to give a more pivotal role to

102

Chapter 6.

The way forward

family physicians in primary care

9

. In the long run, however, a more pluralistic approach will be required with teams that include a variety of professionals with the instruments to provide coordination and continuity of care. That will require a different, more varied and more fl exible cadre of health workers. The sustainability of primary-care reforms in the category of highspending countries is questionable without: (i) a change in paradigm of the training of health personnel; and (ii) the necessary career, social and fi nancial incentives to move health professionals to what in the past have been less prestigious and rewarding career options.

Spurred by the growing awareness of global health threats and of the stratifi cation of health outcomes along social fault lines, there is a major renaissance in public health. The connections between health and other sectors are better understood and are bringing health to the attention of all sectors. Research and information systems, demand for public health training and new discourses on public health are occupying the centre stage of public concerns. This situation needs to be translated into multi-pronged crosssector strategies to address the social determinants of health and their infl uence on priority health challenges (Box 6.1).

Over the last decades, most countries in this category are leading reforms through a steerand-negotiate rather than a command-and-control approach. This refl ects the growing public visibility of the health-policy agenda and the need to fi nd a balance between the different and often irreconcilable demands of diverse constituencies.

As a result, reform efforts are usually multi-levelled, with multiple actors. They progress incrementally: a protracted messy process of muddling through and hard bargaining. In England and

Wales, for example, a major primary-care reform included an extensive public consultation through questionnaires addressed to more than 42 000 people, while over 1 000 individuals were invited to voice their interests and concerns in public hearings. This involvement facilitated consensus on a number of contentious parts of the reform, including shifts of resources to primary care and to underserved areas, while responsibilities were redistributed to improve cooperation and coordination

10

. Time and effort for systematic but principled negotiation is the price to pay for obtaining the social consensus that can overcome entrenched resistance to reform.

Rapid-growth health economies

In rapid-growth health economies, the challenge of engaging PHC reforms presents itself quite differently. The growing demand that comes with increased purchasing power is fuelling an expansion of services at unprecedented speed.

Assuming current growth rates continue through to 2015, per capita health expenditure will grow by 60% in the fast-growing health economies of the Americas compared to 2005 levels. In the same time period, that expenditure will double in Europe and the Middle-East and triple in East

Asia (Figure 6.2).

Figure 6.2

Projected per capita health expenditure in 2015, rapid-growth

Projected total health expenditure per capita, I$, 2015

Projected growth in out-of-pocket expenditure

Projected growth in private pre-paid expenditure

Projected growth in government expenditure

Level of total health expenditure in 2005

1400

1200

1000

800

600

400

200 health economies (weighted averages) a

0

Low- and middleincome countries*,

Low- and middleincome countries*,

Eastern

Mediterranean region

East Asia,

Western

Pacific region

Low- and middleincome*,

Americas

Low- and middleincome countries*,

European region

All rapidgrowth health economies

* Without fragile states.

a Assuming the yearly growth rates for government-, private pre-paid-, and out-of-pocket

expenditure estimated from 1995−2005 data

5

persist to 2015.

While the rate of growth in expenditure represents an opportunity to engage in PHC reforms, it also fuels patterns of health-sector development that run counter to the vision and values

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of PHC. Beginnings count: policy choices that are made for political or technical expediency, such as to refrain from regulating commercial health care, may make it more diffi cult to redirect health systems towards PHC values at a later stage, as powerful vested interests emerge and patterns of supply-induced demand become entrenched

11

.

Biases towards highly sophisticated and specialized infrastructures that cater to the expectations of a wealthy minority are being further fuelled by a new growth market in medical tourism whereby patients from high-expenditure health economies with high-fi xed costs are out-sourced to these comparatively low-cost environments.

This drains the supply of professionals for primary care, encouraging unprecedented rates of specialization within the workforce

12

. In contrast with these developments, ministries of health in many of these countries are still organized around specifi c disease control efforts, and are ill-equipped to use the leverage of expanding resources to regulate health-care delivery. The result is all too often a two-tiered system, with highly sophisticated and specialized health infrastructure that caters to expectations of a wealthy minority, in the presence of huge gaps in service availability for a large part of the population

Reforms that emphasize universal access to people-centred primary care can help to correct such distortions. These reforms can take advantage of technological innovations that facilitate rapid, simple, reliable and low-cost access to services that were previously inaccessible because they were too expensive or required complex supportive infrastructure. Such innovations include rapid diagnostic tests for HIV and gastric ulcers, better drugs that facilitate the shift from institution-based to primary care-based mental health

13

, and advances in surgery that either eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for hospitalization. Combined with the multiplication of evidence-based guidelines, such innovations have considerably enlarged the problem solving capacity of primary-care teams, broadening the role of non-physician clinicians

14

and the potential of self-care. Rapid expansion of people-centred care is thus possible in a context where the technological gap between close-to-client ambulatory care and tertiary institutions is less striking than it was 30 years ago. Chile, for example, has doubled the uptake of primary-care services in a period of fi ve years, along with a massive investment in personnel and equipment ranging from emergency dental care and laboratories to home-based management of chronic pain. The impact of this transformation can be amplifi ed by targeting and empowering the large numbers of poor and excluded in these countries and by reforming public policies accordingly.

In the rapid-growth health economies of the

Americas and the European region less that one third of the expected growth on current trends is through increased out-of-pocket expenditure on health. Two thirds are through increased government expenditure, in combination, in the Americas, with expanded private pre-paid expenditure

(Figure 6.2). The latter also plays a growing role in the Far East, where, as in the Middle East, around 40% of the growth, on current trends, will be in out-of-pocket expenditure. Leverage of PHC reforms will depend in part on the possibility to regulate and infl uence private pre-paid expenditure, and, particularly in Asia, to curb the reliance on out-of-pocket expenditure.

In most of these countries, the level of expenditure compared to GDP or to total government expenditure remains low, offering fi nancial room to further accelerate PHC reforms and underpin them through parallel, and equally important, moves towards universal coverage and reduced reliance on out-of-pocket payments. In many of these countries, public resources are allocated on a capitation basis as are, at least, part of pooled private pre-payment funds. This provides opportunities to include criteria, such as relative deprivation or unmet health needs in the capitation formulas. This effectively transforms resource allocation into an instrument for promoting health equity and for introducing incentives favouring conversion towards primary care and healthier public policies.

Some of the largest countries in the world –

Brazil, for example – are now seizing these kinds of opportunities on a massive scale, expanding their primary-care networks while diminishing their reliance on out-of-pocket payments

15

. Such reforms, however, rarely come about without pressure from the user’s side. Chile’s health policy

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has defi ned a detailed benefi t package, well publicized among the population as an enforceable right. People are being informed about the kind of services, including access to specialized care, which they can claim from their primary-care teams. In combination with sustained investment, such unambiguous entitlements create a powerful dynamic for the development of primary care. Managed well, they have the potential to accelerate convergence while avoiding at least part of the distortions and ineffi ciencies that have plagued high-income countries in earlier years.

Low-expenditure, low-growth health economies

With 2.6 billion people and less than 5% of the world’s health expenditure, countries in this group suffer from an absolute under-funding of their health sector, along with a disproportionally high disease burden. The persistence of high levels of maternal mortality in these countries

− they claim close to 90% of all maternal deaths

− is perhaps the clearest indication of the consequences of the under-funding of health on the performance of their health systems.

Worryingly, growth in health expenditure in these countries is low and highly vulnerable to their political and economic contexts. In fragile states, particularly in those located in Africa, health expenditure is not only low but barely growing at all, and 28% of this little amount of growth in recent years is accounted for by external aid. Health expenditure in the other countries of this group is growing at a stronger average rate of 6% to 7% per year. On current trends, by 2015, per capita health expenditure will have more than doubled in India compared to 2005, and increased by half elsewhere, except in fragile states (Figure 6.3). In many countries, this represents signifi cant leverage to engage

PHC reforms, particularly where the growth is through increased government expenditure or, as in Southern Africa, through other forms of prepayment. In India, however, more than 80% of the growth will, on current trends, be in out-of pocket expenditure, offering much less leverage.

Countries in these regions accumulate a set of problems that in all their diversity share many characteristics. Whole population groups are excluded from access to quality care: because no services are available; because they are too expensive, or under-funded, under-staffed and under-equipped; or because they are fragmented and limited to a few priority programmes. Efforts to establish sound public policies that promote health and deal with determinants of ill-health are limited at best. Unregulated commercialization of both private- and public-health care is quickly becoming the norm for urban and, increasingly, for rural populations − a much bigger and more underestimated challenge to PHC’s values than the verticalism that so worries the international health community.

In most of these countries, the state has had, in the past, the ambition to run the health sector on an authoritarian basis. In today’s pluralistic context, with a multitude of different providers, formal and informal, public and private, only few have succeeded in switching to more appropriate steer-and-negotiate approaches. Instead, as public resources stagnated and bureaucratic mechanisms failed, laissez-faire has become the default approach to management of the health sector.

Figure 6.3

Projected per capita health expenditure in 2015, low-expenditure, low-growth health economies (weighted averages) a

Projected health expenditure per capita, I$, 2015

Projected growth in out-of-pocket expenditure

Projected growth in private pre-paid expenditure

Projected growth in government expenditure

Level of total health expenditure in 2005

300

250

200

150

100

50

0

Fragile states

South- and

South-East Asia*

India Sub-saharan

Africa*

All lowexpenditure, low-growth health economies

* Without fragile states.

a

Assuming the yearly growth rates for government-, private pre-paid-, and out-of-pocket

expenditure estimated from 1995−2005 data

5

persist to 2015.

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106

This has resulted in few or feeble attempts to regulate commercial health-care provision – not only by the private, but also within the public sector, which has, in many instances, adopted the commercial practices of unregulated private care. In such settings, government capacity often limits the extent to which new resources can be leveraged for improved performance. Health authorities are, thus, left with an unfunded mandate for steering the health sector.

Therefore, growing the resource base is a priority: to refi nance resource-starved health systems; to provide them with new life through PHC reforms; and to re-invest in public leadership. Prepayment systems must be nurtured now, discouraging direct levies on the sick and encouraging pooling of resources. This will make it possible to allocate limited resources more intelligently and explicitly than when health services are paid for out-of-pocket. While there is no single prescription for the type of pooling mechanism, there are greater effi ciencies in larger pools: gradual merging or federation of pre-payment schemes can accelerate the build-up of regulatory capacity and accountability mechanisms

16

.

In a signifi cant number of these low-expenditure, low-growth health economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and fragile states, the steep increase in external funds directed towards health through bilateral channels or through the new generation of global fi nancing instruments has boosted the vitality of the health sector. These external funds need to be progressively re-channelled in ways that help build institutional capacity towards a longer-term goal of self-sustaining, universal coverage. In the past, the bulk of donor assistance has targeted short-term projects and programmes resulting in unnecessary delays, or even detracting from the emergence of the fi nancing institutions required to manage universal coverage schemes. The renewed interest among donors in supporting national planning processes as part of the harmonization and alignment agenda, and the consensus that calls for universal access, represent important opportunities for scaling up investments in the institutional apparatus necessary for universal coverage. While reduced catastrophic expenditure on health care and universal access are suffi ciently strong rationales for such change in donor behaviour, the build-up of sustainable national fi nancing capacities also offers an eventual exit strategy from donor dependence.

Governments can do more to support the health sector in these settings. Low-expenditure, lowgrowth health economies allocate only a small fraction of their government revenue to health.

Even in sub-Saharan African countries, which have made progress and allocated an average of

8.8% of their government expenditure to health in 2005, the Abuja Declaration target of 15% is still a long way off

5

. Reaching that target would increase total health expenditure in the region by 34%. Experience of the last decade shows that it is possible to increase government revenues allocated to health rapidly. For example, following rising pressure from a broad range of civil society and political movements, India’s general government expenditure on health – with a specifi c focus on primary health care – is expected to triple within the next fi ve years

17

. In a different context, the Ministry of Health in Burundi quadrupled its budget between 2005 and 2007 by successfully applying for funds that became available through debt reduction under the Enhanced

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

On average, in the 23 countries at completion point for the HIPC and Multilateral Debt Relief

Initiative (MDRI), the annual savings from HIPC debt relief during the 10 years following qualifi cation are equivalent to 70% of public spending on health at 2005 levels

18

. While only part of that money is to be directed to health, even that can make a considerable difference to the fi nancial clout of public-health authorities.

Opportunities arise not only from increased resources. The preponderance of pilot projects is gradually being replaced by more systematic efforts to achieve universal access, albeit often for a single intervention or disease programme.

These high visibility programmes, developed in relation to the MDGs, have revitalized a number of concepts that are key to people-centred care. Among them are the imperative of universal access to high quality and safe care without fi nancial penalty, and the importance of continuity of care, and the need to understand the social, cultural and economic context in which all

Chapter 6.

The way forward

Box 6.2

The virtuous cycle of supply of and demand for primary care

In Mali, the primary care network is made up of communityowned, community-operated primary-care centres, backed up by government-run district teams and referral units. There is a coverage plan, negotiated with the communities, which, if they so wish, can take the initiative to create a primary-care centre according to a set of criteria. The commitment is important, since the health centre will be owned and run by the community: for example, the staff of the health centre, a three to four person team led by a nurse or a family doctor, has to be employed (and fi nanced) by the local community health association. The community can make an agreement with the Ministry of Health to obtain technical and fi nancial support from the district-health teams, for the launch of the health centre and the supervision and back up of its subsequent operation.

The model has proved quite popular, despite the huge effort communities have had to put into the mobilization and organization of these facilities: by 2007, 826 such centres were in operation (up from 360 10 years before), set up at an average cost of

US$ 17 000. The system has proved resilient and has signifi cantly increased the production of health care: the number of curative care episodes managed by the health centres has been multiplied by 2.1. The number of women followed up in antenatal care has been multiplied by 2.7 and births attended by a health professional by 2.5, with coverage levels as measured through Demographic

Health Surveys in 2006 standing at 70% and 49%, respectively;

DTP3 vaccination coverage in 2006 was 68%.

People obviously consider the investment worthwhile. Twice during the last 10 years, between 2000 and 2001 and 2004 and 2005, demand and local initiative for the creation of new centres was rising so fast that Mali’s health authorities had to take measures to slow down the expansion of the network in order to be able to guarantee quality standards (Figure 6.4). This suggests that the virtuous cycle of increased demand and improved

Figure 6.4

The progressive extension of coverage by community-owned,

Population (millions)

Not yet covered

Covered, but living more than 5 km from health care

Covered, living within 5 km of health care

12

10

8

6

4

2 community–operated health centres in Mali, 1998–2007

0

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Demand-driven acceleration of community initiatives

Slowdown to safeguard quality

Demand-driven acceleration of community initiatives

Slowdown to safeguard quality

Source: Système national d’information sanitaire (SNIS), Cellule de Planification et de

Statistiques Ministère de la Santé Mali [National health information system (SNIS), Planning and Statistics Unit, Ministry of Health, Mali].

supply is functioning. Health authorities are expanding the range of services offered and improving the quality – by encouraging the recruitment of doctors in the rural primary-care centres − while continuing their support to the extension of the network.

men, women and families of a given community live. Integration is becoming a reality through approaches, such as the Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness (IMAI) and the community-based interventions emerging from the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP)

19

.

Global initiatives are loosening their grip on disease-control mandates and are beginning to appreciate the importance of strengthening the system more generally, such as through

GAVI Alliance’s Health System Strengthening window, paving the way for better alignment of previously fragmented initiatives. Driven largely by demand, information technologies to support primary care, such as electronic medical records, are spreading much faster than anticipated.

Efforts to scale up HIV treatment have helped to expose the shortfalls in key systems inputs, such as the supply chain management of diagnostics and drugs, and build bridges to other sectors, such as agriculture, given the imperative of food security. Emerging awareness of the magnitude of the workforce crisis is leading to ambitious policies and programmes, including task shifting, distance learning and the innovative deployment of fi nancial and non-fi nancial incentives.

In this context, the challenge is no longer to do more with less, but to harness the growth in the

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health sector to do more with more. The unmet need in these countries is vast and making services available is still a major issue. It requires a progressive roll-out of health districts – whether through government services or by contracting

NGOs, or a combination of both. Yet the complexities of contemporary health systems, particularly, but not only in urban areas, call for fl exible and innovative interpretations of these organizational strategies. In many of Africa’s capitals, for example, public facilities of primary, and even secondary, level have almost or completely disappeared, and have been replaced by unregulated commercial providers

20

. Creative solutions will have to build on alliances with local authorities, civil society and consumer organizations to use growing funds – pooled private pre-payment, social security contributions, funds from municipal authorities and tax-sourced funding – to create a primary-care offer that acts as a public safety net, as an alternative to unregulated commercial care, and as a signal of what trustworthy, peoplecentred health care can look like.

What eventually matters is the experience of patients accessing services. Trust will grow if they are welcomed and not turned away; remembered and not forgotten; seen by someone who knows them well; respected in terms of their privacy and dignity; responded to with appropriate care; informed about tests; and provided with drugs and not charged a fee at the point of service.

Growing trust can induce a virtuous cycle of increased demand and improved supply (Box 6.2).

The gain in credibility that comes from instating such a virtuous cycle is key to gaining social and political consensus on investment in healthier public policies across sectors. Effective food security, education and rural-urban policies are critical for health and health equity: the health sector’s infl uence on these policies depends to a large extent on its performance in providing quality primary care.

Mobilizing the drivers of reform

Across all of the diverse national contexts in which

PHC reforms must fi nd their specifi c expression, globalization plays a major role. It is altering the balance between international organizations, national governments, non-state actors, local and regional authorities and individual citizens.

The global health landscape is not immune to these wider changes. Over the last 30 years, the traditional nation state and multilateral architecture have been transformed. Civil society organizations have mushroomed, along with the emergence of public-private partnerships and global advocacy communities identifi ed with specifi c health problems. Governmental agencies work with research consortia and consulting fi rms as well as with non-state transnational institutions, foundations and NGOs that operate on a global scale. National diasporas have appeared that command substantial resources and infl uence with remittances – about US$ 150 billion in 2005 – that dwarf overseas development aid.

Illicit global networks make a business out of counterfeit drugs or toxic waste disposal, and now have the resources that allow them to capture and subvert the capacity of public agencies.

Power is gravitating from national governments to international organizations and, at the same time, to sub-national entities, including a range of local and regional governments and non-governmental institutions

21

.

This new and often chaotic complexity is challenging, particularly to health authorities that hesitate between ineffective and often counterproductive command and control and deleterious laissez-faire approaches to governance. However, it also offers new, common opportunities for investing in the capacity to lead and mediate the politics of reform, by mobilizing knowledge, the workforce and people.

Mobilizing the production of knowledge

PHC reforms can be spurred and kept on track by institutionalizing PHC policy reviews that mobilize organizational imagination, intelligence and ingenuity. The know-how to conduct policy reviews exists

22

, but requires more explicit articulations. They need to refocus on monitoring such progress with each of the four interlocking sets of

PHC reforms; on identifying, as they unfold, the technical and political obstacles to their advancement; and on providing the elements for course corrections, where necessary.

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Chapter 6.

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In a globalizing world, PHC policy reviews can take advantage of the emerging within- and across-country collaborative networks to build up the critical mass that can lead and implement the necessary reforms. Indeed, for many countries, it is not realistic to fi nd, within their own institutions, all the technical expertise, contextual knowledge and necessary capacity for dispassionate analysis that PHC policy reviews require. Open, inclusive and collaborative structures, such as the Latin American observatory models

23

, can go a long way in harnessing the diversity of national resources. Such models also make it possible to derive further benefi ts from international collaboration and to overcome the scarcities within a single nation’s capacities. Policy-makers today are more open to lessons from abroad than they may have been in the past, and are using them to feed national policy dialogue with innovative approaches and better evidence of what works and what does not

22

. Embedding national institutions in regional networks that collaborate around PHC policy reviews makes it possible to pool technical competencies as well as information. Importantly, it can create regional mechanisms to get more effective representation in important but labour-intensive global bodies, with less strain on scarce national resources.

More structured and intensive inter-country collaboration around PHC policy reviews would yield better international comparative data on variations in the development of health systems based on PHC, on models of good practice and on the determinants of successful PHC reforms. Such information is currently often either absent, hard to compare or outdated. By building on networks of experts and institutions from different regions, it is possible to produce consensus-based and validated benchmarks for assessing progress and easier access to (inter)national sources of information relevant to monitoring primary care.

This could make a big difference in steering PHC reforms. Various initiatives in this direction, such as the Primary Health Care Activity Monitor for

Europe (PHAMEU)

24

, a network of institutes and organizations from 10 European Union Member

States, or the Regional Network on Equity in

Health (EQUINET)

25

, a network of professionals, civil society members, policy-makers, and state offi cials in Southern Africa, are promising steps in that direction.

There is a huge research agenda with enormous potential to accelerate PHC reforms that requires more concerted attention (see Box 6.3).

Yet, currently, the share of health expenses devoted to determining what works best – to health services research – is less that 0.1% of health expenditure in the United States, the country that spends the highest proportion (5.6%) of

Box 6.3.

From product development to fi eld implementation – research makes the link

27

The WHO-based Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) has been a pioneer in research to inform policy and practice. TDR-sponsored studies were the fi rst to broadly document the effi cacy of insecticide-treated bednets for malaria prevention in the mid-1990s, in multicountry, multi-centre controlled trials. Following introduction of the drug Ivermectin for onchocerciasis, or “river blindness”, control in the late 1980s, TDR, together with the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, initiated research on how best to get Ivermectin into mass distribution in the fi eld. What evolved was a tested and fi ne-tuned region-wide system for

“community-directed treatment” of river blindness, described as “one of the most triumphant public health campaigns ever waged in the developing world.”

28

Now, as the global health community moves away from vertical disease control, operational research is facilitating the shift.

Recent TDR-supported large-scale, controlled studies involving

2.5 million people in 35 health districts in three countries have demonstrated that the community-directed treatment methods developed to combat river blindness can be utilized as a platform for integrated delivery of multiple primary health-care interventions, including, bednets, malaria treatment and other basic health-care interventions, with signifi cant increases in coverage. For example, more than twice as many children with fever received appropriate antimalarial treatment, exceeding

60% coverage on average. Critical to both the funding and execution of such research are the partnerships fostered with countries in the region, as well as other public, civil society and private institutions. The vision now is to make implementation and operations research an even more important element of global research agendas, so that new products may fi nally begin to yield their hoped-for health impact through sounder primary health-care system implementation. Thus, the longstanding burden of deadly diseases, such as malaria, may be more effectively addressed – through global, regional and local knowledge-sharing and cooperation.

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110 its health expenditure on biomedical research

26

.

As another striking example, only US$ 2 million out of US$ 390 million in 32 GAVI Health

System Strengthening grants were allocated to research, despite encouragement to countries to do so. No other I$ 5 trillion economic sector would be happy with so little investment in research related to its core agenda: the reduction of health inequalities; the organization of people-centred care; and the development of better, more effective public policies. No other industry of that size would be satisfi ed with so little investment in a better understanding of what their clients expect and how they perceive performance. No other industry of that size would pay so little attention to intelligence on the political context in which it operates – the positions and strategies of key stakeholders and partners. It is time for health leaders to understand the value of investment in this area.

Mobilizing the commitment of the workforce

Each of the sets of PHC reforms emphasizes the premium placed on human resources in health.

The expected skills and competencies constitute an ambitious workforce programme that requires a rethink and review of existing pedagogic approaches. The science of health equity and primary care has yet to fi nd its central place in schools of public health. Pre-service education for the health professions is already beginning to build in shared curricular activities that emphasize problem-solving in multi-disciplinary teams, but they need to go further in preparing for the skills and attitudes that PHC requires.

This includes creating opportunities for on-thejob learning across sectors through mentoring, coaching and continuing education. These and other changes to the wide array of curricula and on-the-job learning require a deliberate effort to mobilize the responsible institutional actors both within and across countries.

However, as we have learned in recent years, the content of what is learned or taught, although extremely important, is but one part of a complex of systems that governs the performance of the health workforce

1

. A set of systems issues related to the health workforce need to be guided to a greater degree by PHC reforms. For example, health equity targets for underserved population groups will remain elusive if they do not consider how health workers can be effectively recruited and retained to work among them. Likewise, grand visions of care coordinated around the person or patient are unlikely to be translated into practice if credible career options for working in primary-care teams are not put in place.

Similarly, incentives are critical complements in ensuring that individuals and institutions exercise their competencies when engaging health in all policies.

The health workforce is critical to PHC reforms.

Signifi cant investment is needed to empower health staff – from nurses to policy-makers – with the wherewithal to learn, adapt, be team players, and to combine biomedical and social perspectives, equity sensitivity and patient centredness. Without investing in their mobilization, they can be an enormous source of resistance to change, anchored to past models that are convenient, reassuring, profi table and intellectually comfortable. If, however, they can be made to see and experience that primary health care produces stimulating and gratifying work, which is socially and economically rewarding, health workers may not only come on board but also become a militant vanguard. Here again, taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by the exchange and sharing of experience offered by a globalizing world can speed up the necessary transformations.

Mobilizing the participation of people

The history of the politics of PHC reforms in the countries that have made major strides is largely unwritten. It is clear, however, that where these reforms have been successful, the endorsement of PHC by the health sector and by the political world has invariably followed on rising demand and pressure expressed by civil society. There are many examples of such demand. In Thailand, the initial efforts to mobilize civil society and politicians around an agenda of universal coverage came from within the Ministry of Health

29,30

.

However, it was only when Thai reformers joined a surge in civil society pressure to improve access to care, did it become possible to take advantage

Chapter 6.

The way forward

of a political opportunity and launch the reform

31

.

In just a few years, coverage was extended and most of the population was covered with a publicly funded primary-care system that benefi tincidence analysis shows to be pro-poor

32,33

. In

Mali, the revitalization of PHC in the 1990s started with an alliance between part of the Ministry of

Health and part of the donor community, which made it possible to overcome initial resistance and scepticism

34

. However, sustained extension of coverage only came about when hundreds of local “community health associations” federated in a powerful pressure group to spur the Ministry of Health and sustain political commitment

35

. In western Europe, consumer organizations have a prominent place in the discussions on health care and public policies relating to health, as have many other civil society organizations. Elsewhere, such as in Chile, the initiative has come from the political arena as part of an agenda of democratization. In India, the National Rural Health

Mission came about as a result of strong pressure from civil society and the political world, while, in

Bangladesh, much of the pressure for PHC comes from quasi-public NGOs

36

.

There is an important lesson there: powerful allies for PHC reform are to be found within civil society. They can make the difference between a well-intentioned but short-lived attempt, and successful and sustained reform; and between a purely technical initiative, and one that is endorsed by the political world and enjoys social consensus. This is not to say that public policy should be purely demand-driven. Health authorities have to ensure that popular expectations and demand are balanced with need, technical priorities and anticipated future challenges.

Health authorities committed to PHC will have to harness the dynamics of civil society pressure for change in a policy debate that is supported with evidence and information, and informed by exchange of experience with others, within and across national boundaries.

Today, it is possible to make a stronger case for health than in previous times. This is not only because of intrinsic values, such as health equity, or for the sector’s contribution to economic growth

− however valid they may be, these arguments are not always the most effective – but on political grounds. Health constitutes an economic sector of growing importance in itself and a feature of development and social cohesion. Reliable protection against health threats and equitable access to quality health care when needed are among the most central demands people make on their governments in advancing societies. Health has become a tangible measure of how well societies are developing and, thus, how well governments are performing their role. This constitutes a reservoir of potential strength for the sector, and is a basis for obtaining a level of commitment from society and political leadership that is commensurate with the challenges.

Economic development and the rise of a knowledge society make it likely, though not inevitable, that expectations regarding health and health systems will continue to rise – some realistic, some not, some self-serving, others balanced with concern for what is good for society at large.

The increasing weight of some of the key values underlying these expectations − equity, solidarity, the centrality of people and their wish to have a say in what affects them and their health − is a long-term trend. Health systems do not naturally gravitate towards these values, hence the need for each country to make a deliberate choice when deciding the future of their health systems. It is possible not to choose PHC. In the long run, however, that option carries a huge penalty: in forfeited health benefi ts, impoverishing costs, in loss of trust in the health system as a whole and, ultimately, in loss of political legitimacy. Countries need to demonstrate their ability to transform their health systems in line with changing challenges as well as to rising popular expectations. That is why we need to mobilize for PHC, now more than ever.

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(http://www.phameu.eu/).

EQUINET Africa. Regional Network on Equity in Health in Southern Africa, Harare,

2008 (http://www.equinetafrica.org/).

Hamilton M III et al. Financial anatomy of biomedical research.

JAMA

, 2005,

294:1333−1342.

Community-directed interventions for major health problems in Africa: a multi-country study: fi nal report.

Geneva, UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/World Health Organization

Special Programme for Research & Training in Tropical Diseases, 2008 (http://www.

who.int/tdr/publications/publications/pdf/cdi_report_08.pdf, accessed 26 August

2008).

UNESCO science report 2005

. Paris, United Nations Educational, Scientifi c and

Cultural Organization, 2005.

Tancharoensathien V, Jongudomsuk P, eds.

From policy to implementation: historical events during 2001-2004 of UC in Thailand

. Bangkok, National Health Security

Offi ce, 2005.

Biscaia A, Conceição C, Ferrinho P.

Primary health care reforms in Portugal: equity oriented and physician driven

. Paper presented at: Organizing integrated PHC through family practice: an intercountry comparison of policy formation processes,

Brussels, 8–9 October 2007.

Hughes D, Leethongdee S. Universal coverage in the land of smiles: lessons from

Thailand’s 30 Baht health reforms.

Health Affairs

, 2007, 26:999–1008.

Jongudomsuk P. From universal coverage of healthcare in Thailand to SHI in China: what lessons can be drawn?

In: International Labour Offi ce, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) Gmbh, World Health Organization.

Extending social protection in health: developing countries’ experiences, lessons learnt and recommendations

. Paper presented at: International Conference on Social Health

Insurance in Developing Countries, Berlin, 5–7 December 2005. Eschborn, Deutsche

Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), 2007:155–157 (http://www2.

gtz.de/dokumente/bib/07-0378.pdf, accessed 19 July 2008).

Tangcharoensathien V et al.

Universal coverage in Thailand: the respective roles of social health insurance and tax-based fi nancing.

In: International Labour Offi ce,

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) Gmbh, World

Health Organization.

Extending social protection in health: developing countries’ experiences, lessons learnt and recommendations

. Paper presented at: International

Conference on Social Health Insurance in Developing Countries, Berlin, 5–7

December 2005. Eschborn, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit

(GTZ), 2007:121–131 (http://www2.gtz.de/dokumente/bib/07-0378.pdf, accessed

19 July 2008).

Maiga Z, Traore Nafo F, El Abassi A.

Health sector reform in Mali, 1989–1996.

Antwerp, ITG Press, 2003.

Balique H, Ouattara O, Ag Iknane A. Dix ans d’expérience des centres de santé communautaire au Mali,

Santé publique

, 2001, 13:35−48.

Chaudhury RH, Chowdhury Z.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goal on maternal mortality: Gonoshasthaya Kendra’s experience in rural Bangladesh

. Dhaka,

Gonoprokashani, 2007.

112

Index

A

Aboriginal populations, health inequities 32 abortion, legal access vs unsafe abortion 65

Africa low-income countries under stress (LICUS) criteria 5

PHC replaced by unregulated commercial providers 108

see also

North Africa; South Africa; sub-Saharan Africa ageing populations 8

Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property

Rights (TRIPS) 76

Alma-Ata

see Declaration of Alma-Ata on Primary Health Care

ambulatory care generalist vs specialist 53 professionals, conventional health care 55 avian infl uenza (H5N1) 68

Ayurvedic medicine training 44

B

Bangladesh inequalities in health/health care 10 neglect of health infrastructure 2–8 patterns of exclusion 28 quasi-public NGOs 111 resource-constrained settings 87 rural credit programmes 48

Belgium, local authorities, support of intersectoral collaboration 35 benefi t packages, defi ning 27

Benin, inequalities in health/health care 10 birthing care empowering users to contribute to their own health 48 professionalization 17, 28 births and deaths, unrecorded/uncounted 74

Bolivia, inequalities in health/health care 10

Bosnia and Herzegovina, inequalities in health/health care 10

Botswana, inequalities in health/health care 10

Brazil

Family Health Teams 67 human resource issues (PAHO) 88

Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) 67 policy dialogue 86

Burkina Faso, institutional capacity for health-sector governance 92

Burundi, Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative 106

C

Cambodia inequalities in health/health care 10 progressive roll-out of rural coverage 30

Campbell Collaboration 74

Canada policy dialogue 86

SARS leading to establishment of a national public health agency 64 cancer screening 9 capacity for change critical mass 90 limitations of conventional capacity building in low- and middle-income countries 91

Caribbean, professionalization of birthing care 17

Central Asia, professionalization of birthing care 17

Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of

Independent States (CEE-CIS), disengagement from health provision 83 cerebrovascular disease, tobacco-related 9

Chad neglect of health infrastructure 27–8 patterns of exclusion 28

Chile administrative structures redefi ned 93 benefi t package as an enforceable right 104–5 integrating health sector information systems 35 outreach to families in long-term poverty 33

Regime of Explicit Health Guarantees 87 targeting social protection 33 under-fi ve mortality 1975–2006 2

China ambitious rural PHC reform 93 deregulation of health sector (1980s) 83–4 health expenditure 84 outbreak of SARS in 2003 64 re-engagement of health care 84 chronic disease, prevention in developing countries 65 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tobacco-related 9 civil registration 74

Cochrane Collaboration 73

Codex Alimentarius Commission (1963) 76

Columbia inequalities in health/health care 10 patterns of exclusion 28

113

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

commercialization of health care alternatives to unregulated commercial services 31 consequences for quality and access to care 14 unregulated, drift to 13–14 in unregulated health systems 11, 14, 106

Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), recommendations 69 community health workers, bypassing 16

Comoros, inequalities in health/health care 10 comprehensiveness better vaccination coverage 49 evidence of its contribution to quality of care and better outcomes 48 conditional cash transfers 33 continuity of care 53, 57 contraceptive prevalence, sub-Saharan Africa 3 conventional health care ambulatory care professionals 55 switch to PHC 56 vs people-centredness 43 coordination (gatekeeping) role of ambulatory care professionals 55

Costa Rica bias-free framework of health systems 36 local reorganization, template for national effort 36 universal coverage scheme 25

Cote d’Ivoire

GDP 4 inequalities in health/health care 10 mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV 44–5

Cuba, maximizing society’s resources 65

D

Declaration of Alma-Ata on Primary Health Care

(1978) ix, xiii,

34, 69

Democratic Republic of the Congo health budget cuts 7 institutional capacity for health-sector governance 92 rebuilding leadership in health, post-war and economic decline 94 robustness of PHC-led health systems 31 safari surgery 14

Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data 34–5 developing countries, chronic disease burden 65 diasporas 108 dietary salt reduction 65 disease control programmes 16 return on investment 13 vs challenges of health systems 83 vs people-centred PHC 43 disengagement from health provision, CEE-CIS 83 documentation and assessment 74 domestic investment, re-invigorating health systems xx drugs counterfeit drugs 108 global expenditure 12 national medicine policies 66 product licencing 102 transnational mechanisms of access 66

WHO List of Essential Medicines

66

E

Ecuador

Equity Gauges 88 inequalities in health/health care 10 electronic health records 50 entry point to PHC 50–2, 53, 57

EQUINET (Regional Network on Equity in Health) 109

Equity Gauges, stakeholder collaboration to tackle health inequalities 88 essential packages, defi ning 27

Ethiopia contract staff pay 13

Health Extension Workers 67 priority preventive interventions 28

Europe

2003 heatwave 54

Primary Health Care Activity Monitor for Europe (PHAMEU)

109

Regional Network on Equity in Health (EQUINET) 109

European Union impact assessment guidelines 75 technical requirements, registering new medicines or product licencing 102 evidence-based medicine 43–4

F

Fiji, isolated/dispersed populations 30–1

Finland, health inequities 32 food dietary salt reduction 65 marketing to children 73

“fragile states” increase in external funds 106 low-income countries under stress (LICUS) criteria 5 per capita health expenditure 105 fragmentation of health care 11, 12–13 causes 51 fragmented funding streams and service delivery 85

France health inequities 32 reduction in traffi c fatalities 71 self-help organization of diabetics 48 funding

see

total health expenditure

114

Index

G

GDP growth in GDP xviii life expectancy at birth, 169 countries 4 percentage of GDP used for health (2005) 82 trends per capita and life expectancy at birth, 133 countries 5 generalist ambulatory care 53 global expenditure medical equipment and devices 12 percentage of GDP used for health (2005) 82 pharmaceutical industry 12 global trends city dwelling 7 life expectancy 4 that undermine health systems’ response 11–12 globalization xiii–xiv adjusting to 76 global health interdependence 76 governments as brokers for PHC reform 82–6 or quasi-governmental institutions, participation and negotiation 85 grassroots advocacy 35–6 growth, and peace 6 growth market in medical tourism 104

Guinea, inequalities in health/health care 10

H

Haiti, institutional capacity for health-sector governance 92 health, feature of development and social cohesion 111

Health Action Zones, United Kingdom 36 health equity 34–5 central place of 15, 24–5 common misperceptions 34–5

“health in all policies” concept 64 health expenditure

see

total health expenditure health hazards, political fall-out from 16 health inequities 15, 24, 32

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations 32 catastrophic expenditure related to out-of-pocket payment

24

Equity Gauges 88 increasing the visibility 34 political proposals, organized social demand 35

see also

fragmentation of health care health systems changing values and rising expectations 14–15 components and provision of services 66 consistent inequity 24 dangerous oversimplifi cation in resource-constrained settings xviii defi ning essential packages 27 diversion from primary health care core values 11 expectations for better performance xiv failure to assess political environment 9–10 inequalities in health/health care 10, 15, 24, 32, 34–5 little anticipation and slow reactions to change 9–10 making more people-centred 16

Medisave accounts 50 mismatch between expectations and performance xv mitigating effects of social inequities 36 moving towards universal coverage 25–7

PHC reforms necessary (4 groups) xvii shift of focus of primary health care movement xvi three bad trends xiv universal coverage 25

see also

primary health care (PHC) reforms; public policymaking health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE) 6 health-care delivery fi ve common shortcomings xv reorganization of work schedules of rural health centres

42–3 health-sector governance, institutional capacity 92

“Healthy Islands” initiative 30 heatwave, western Europe (2003) 54

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative 106 high spending on health, better outcomes 5 high-expenditure health economies 100, 101–3

HIV infection, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) 44

HIV/AIDS, continuum of care approaches 68 hospital-centrism 11 opportunity cost 12

I

impact assessment, European Union guidelines 75

India

National Rural Health Mission 111 per capita health expenditure 105 private sector medical-care providers 44 public expenditure on health 93 under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 3

Indonesia, inequalities in health/health care 10 infl uenza, avian (H5N1) 68 information and communication technologies 51 information systems demand for health-related information 87 instrumental to PHC reform 87 strengthening policy dialogue 86–7 transforming into instruments for PHC reform 87 injections, patient safety 44 institutions (national) capacity for health-sector governance 92 critical mass for capacity for change 90 generation of workforce 76

115

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

leadership capacity shortfalls 90 multi-centric development 76 productive policy dialogue 86 instruments for PHC reform, information systems 87

Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness (IMAI)

107

International Clinical Epidemiology Network 73 international environment, favourable to a renewal of PHC xx international migration 8 interventions, scaling up 28–9 investigations, inappropriate investigations prescribed 53 invisibility, births and deaths unrecorded/uncounted 74 ischaemic heart disease, tobacco-related 9

Islamic Republic of Iran, progressive roll-out of rural coverage

28 isolated/dispersed populations 30–1 fi nancing of health care 31

J

Japan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units per capita 12

K

Kenya

Equity Gauges 88 malaria prevention 64 knowledge, production of 108

Korea, universal coverage scheme 25

L

Latin America exclusion of 47 from needed services 32

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) 32, 66, 88 professionalization of birthing care 17 targeting social protection 33 lead poisoning, avoidable 71 leadership capacity, shortfalls 90 leadership and effective government 81–94

“learning from the fi eld”, policy development 89–90

Lebanon hospital-centrism vs risk reduction 11 neighbourhood environment initiatives 48

Lesotho, inequalities in health/health care 10 life expectancy at birth in 169 countries 4 global trends 4 local action, starting point for broader structural changes 36 low- and middle-income countries 101 low-expenditure low-growth health economies 100–1, 105–8 per capita health expenditure 105 low-income countries under stress (LICUS) criteria 5

M

Madagascar inequalities in health/health care 10 life expectancy at birth 4 under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 3 malaria 109

Malawi hospital nurses leave for better-paid NGO jobs 13 inequalities in health/health care 10

Malaysia scaling up of priority cadres of workers 67 under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 2

Mali institutional capacity for health-sector governance 92 progressive roll-out of rural coverage 30 revitalization of PHC in the 1990s 111 virtuous cycle of supply of and demand for primary care

107 medical equipment and devices, global expenditure 12 medical tourism 104 medico-industrial complex 85–6

Mexico active ageing programme 48 universal coverage scheme 25

Middle East, professionalization of birthing care 17

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) xiii, 2, 106

Mongolia, under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 3

Morocco institutional capacity for health-sector governance 92 trachoma programme 71 under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 3 mortality cause-of-death statistics 74 reducing under-fi ve mortality by 80, by regions, 1975–

2006 2 shift towards noncommunicable diseases and accidents 8

Mozambique, inequalities in health/health care 10 multi-morbidity 8 mutual support associations 56

N

Nairobi, under-fi ve mortality rate 7 national health information systems, policy dialogue 86–7

National Institutes of Public Health (NIPHs) 74–5

International Association of National Public Health Institutes

Nepal

(IANPHI) 76 community dynamics of women’s groups 54

GDP and life expectancy 4 inequalities in health/health care 10

New Zealand, annual pharmaceutical spending 66

Nicaragua, patterns of exclusion 28

116

Index

Niger inequalities in health/health care 10 neglect of health infrastructure 27–8 patterns of exclusion 28 reorganization of work schedules of rural health centres 42 staff–clients in PHC, direct relationship 42 noncommunicable diseases, mortality 8

North Africa, professionalization of birthing care 17

Norway, national strategy to reduce social inequalities in health 102

O

Offi cial Development Aid for Health, yearly aid fl ows (2005) 91

Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) 107, 109 opportunity cost, hospital-centrism 12

Osler, W,

quoted

42

Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion 17 outpatient attendance 27

P

Pakistan, Lady Health Workers 67

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) 32, 66, 88 patient safety, securing better outcomes 44 patterns of exclusion from needed services 32 peace, and growth 6 people-centred primary care, universal access 104 people-centredness 16, 42–3 and community participation 85 desire for participation 18 policy dialogue 85–7 vs conventional health care 43 person-centred care evidence of quality/better outcomes 47 and provider’s job satisfaction 46

Peru, inequalities in health/health care 10 pharmaceutical industry, global expenditure 12

Philippines, inequalities in health/health care 10 policy dialogue 85–6 innovations from the fi eld 89–90 political environment and health hazards 16 organized social demand 35 political process, from launching reform to implementation

92–3 populations, health evidence documentation 74

Portugal

2004–2010 National Health Plan 92 key health indicators 3 under-fi ve mortality 1975–2006 2

Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) 92–3 pre-payment and pooling 26–7 pre-payment systems 106

Preston curve, GDP per capita and life expectancy at birth in

169 countries 4 primary health care (PHC) comprehensive and integrated responses 48–9 comprehensiveness and integratedness 48–9 continuity of care 49–50 dangerously oversimplifi ed in resource-constrained settings xviii distinctive features 43–52, 56–7 empowering users 48 experience has shifted focus xiv governments as brokers for PHC reform 82–6 monitoring progress 56 need for multiple strategies 25 networking within the community served 55 networks, fi lling availability gap 28 organizing PHC networks 52–6 people-centredness, vs conventional health care 43 person-centred, and provider’s job satisfaction 46 political endorsement of PHC reforms 93 priority health programmes 67 progressive roll-out of PHC, vs scaling up of priority preventive interventions 28–9 rapid response capacity 68–9 reforms, driven by demand 18–19 regular and trusted provider as entry point 50–2 responsibility for a well-identifi ed population 53–4 social values and corresponding reforms 18 staff–clients direct relationship 42 under-investment 71–2

see also

health systems primary health care (PHC) reforms adapting to country context 100 commitment of workforce 110 four interlocking sets xvii, 114 high-expenditure health economies 101–3 low-expenditure, low-growth health economies 105–8 mobilizing the drivers of reform 108–10 participation of people 110–11 rapid-growth health economies 103–5 primary-care networks 52–6 entry point 50–2 relocation 53 primary-care providers, responsibilities 56 primary-care team, as a hub of coordination 55–6 priority preventive interventions scaling up 28–9 vs progressive roll-out of PHC 28–30 product development 109 professionalization ambulatory care 55 birthing care 17, 28 participation and negotiation 85 project management units 91 public funding, conditional cash transfers 33 public policy-making xix–xx, 63–75

117

The World Health Report

2008

Primary Health Care –

Now More Than Ever

institutional capacity for development 74–5 opportunities for better public policies 73–4 policies in other sectors 64, 70 systems policies 64 towards health in all policies 69–70 under-investment 71–2 unpopular public policy decisions 72–3 public-health interventions 64, 67–8 essential public-health functions (30 NIPHs) 75 impact assessment guidelines (EU) 75 initiatives 68

R

rapid-growth health economies 103–5

Regional Network on Equity in Health (EQUINET) 109 research

GAVI Health System Strengthening grants 110 product development to fi eld implementation 109

Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) 109 response-to-demand approach 53–4 risk factors developing countries chronic disease burden 65 in terms of overall disease burden 8 risk reduction patient safety and better outcomes 44 vs hospital-centrism 11 river blindness, Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) 107,

109 road-traffi c accidents 7, 8, 71 rural health centres information and communication technologies 51 reorganization of work schedules 42

Russian Federation, GDP and health 4–5

S

salt, dietary reduction 65

SARS pandemic, establishment of national public health agencies 64 scaling up, limited number of interventions 28–9

Senegal, lead poisoning 71

Seventh Futures Forum, senior health executives 72

Singapore, Medisave accounts 50 skills base, extension workers 28 social cohesion 111 social contract for health 82–3 social demand, and political environment 35 social determinants of health 69 social inequities 36 social protection schemes, Latin America 33

South Africa

Equity Gauges 88 family empowerment and parent training programmes 48

South-East Asia, professionalization of birthing care 17

South-East Asian Region (SEARO) 76 stakeholder collaboration, to tackle health inequalities 88 state and health-care system 83 absence/withdrawal from health provision 83 disengagement and its consequences 83–4

Sub-Saharan Africa abortions, increased, in unsafe conditions 3

Abuja Declaration target of 15 106 contraceptive prevalence 3

GDP per capita 7 increase in external funds 106 professionalization of birthing care 17

Sultanate of Oman investment in a national health service 2 under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 3 systems policies, for human resources 66

T

Tajikistan, under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 3

Tanzania budget allocation formulae/contract specifi cations 30 inequalities in health/health care 10 treatment plans for safe motherhood 48 targeting, social protection schemes 33 technical cooperation, Offi cial Development Aid for Health, yearly aid fl ows (2005) 91

Thailand

30 Baht universal coverage reform 89

Decade of Health Centre Development 86

Declaration of Patients’ Rights 48

First Health Care Reform Forum (1997) 86 inappropriate investigations prescribed 53 policy dialogue 86 strengthening policy dialogue with fi eld model innovations

89 under-fi ve mortality 1975–2006 2 universal coverage scheme 25 tobacco industry, efforts to limit tobacco control 73 tobacco taxes 65 tobacco-attributable deaths 9, 71–2 total health expenditure (THE), 2000–2005 100 conditional cash transfers 33 contribution of general government, private pre-paid and private out-of-pocket expenditure 101 countries/groups 6 projected per capita health expenditure in 2015 103 rate of growth 100 toxic waste disposal 108 trachoma programme 71

Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

76 traffi c accidents 7, 8, 71

118

Index

tropical diseases 109

Tunisia, institutional capacity for health-sector governance 92

Turkey patterns of exclusion 28 retraining of nurses and physicians 67 universal coverage scheme 25

U

Uganda allocations to districts 30 outpatient attendance 27

UNICEF/WHO Integrated Management of Childhood Illness initiatives 46

United Kingdom career in primary care, fi nancial competitiveness 67

Health Action Zones 36

Poor Laws Commission 34 public-health observatories in England 89

United States

Alaska, staff–clients in PHC, direct relationship 42 in favour of health equity 15 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units per capita 12 per capita expenditure on drugs 12 universal access, people-centred primary care 104 universal coverage schemes 25–6 best practices 26 challenges in moving towards 27–8 targeted interventions to complement 32–3 three ways of moving towards 26 unregulated commercial services 31–2

V

vaccination, comprehensiveness/coverage 49

W

women’s health abortion, legal access vs unsafe abortion 65 birthing care, professionalization 17, 28 contraceptive prevalence, sub-Saharan Africa 3 empowering users to contribute to their own health 48 health-care response to partner violence 47 work circumstances, change and adverse health effects 70 work schedules, reorganization in rural health centres 42 workforce, critical to PHC reforms 110

World Health Organization

List of Essential Medicines

66 offi ces 113

Seventh Futures Forum of senior health executives 72

World Trade Organization (WTO), consideration of health in trade agreements 76

Z

Zaire, health budget cuts 7

Zambia health budget cuts 7 incentives to health workers to serve in rural areas 67 life expectancy at birth 4 under-fi ve mortality 1975 and 2006 3

119

couverture_cor.indd 2-3

Offi ces of the World Health Organization

Headquarters

World Health Organization

Avenue Appia 20

1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

Telephone:

(41) 22 791 21 11

Facsimile:

(41) 22 791 31 11

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.who.int

WHO Regional Offi ce for Africa

Cité du Djoue

P.O. Box 06

Brazzaville, Congo

Telephone:

(47) 241 39100

Facsimile:

(47) 241 39503

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.afro.who.int

WHO Regional Offi ce for the Americas/

Pan American Sanitary Bureau

525, 23rd Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20037, USA

Telephone:

(1) 202 974 3000

Facsimile:

(1) 202 974 3663

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.paho.org

WHO Regional Offi ce for South-East Asia

World Health House

Indraprastha Estate

Mahatma Gandhi Road

New Delhi 110002, India

Telephone:

(91) 112 337 0804/09/10/11

Facsimile:

(91) 112 337 0197/337 9395

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.searo.who.int

WHO Regional Offi ce for Europe

8, Scherfi gsvej

2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

Telephone:

(45) 39 17 17 17

Facsimile:

(45) 39 17 18 18

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.euro.who.int

WHO Regional Offi ce for the Eastern

Mediterranean

Abdul Razzak Al Sanhouri Street

P.O. Box 7608

Nasr City

Cairo 11371, Egypt

Telephone:

(202) 670 25 35

Facsimile:

(202) 670 2492/94

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.emro.who.int

WHO Regional Offi ce for the

Western Pacifi c

P.O. Box 2932

Manila 1000, Philippines

Telephone:

(632) 528 9991

Facsimile:

(632) 521 1036 or 526 0279

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.wpro.who.int

International Agency for

Research on Cancer

150, cours Albert-Thomas

69372 Lyon Cédex 08, France

Telephone:

(33) 472 73 84 85

Facsimile:

(33) 472 73 85 75

E-mail:

[email protected]

Web site:

http://www.iarc.fr

16.9.2008 17:07:34

PRIMARY

HEALTH

CARE

REFORMS

As nations seek to strengthen their health systems, they are increasingly looking to primary health care (PHC) to provide a clear and comprehensive sense of direction.

The World Health Report 2008

analyses how primary health care reforms, that embody the principles of universal access, equity and social justice, are an essential response to the health challenges of a rapidly changing world and the growing expectations of countries and their citizens for health and health care.

The Report identifi es four interlocking sets of PHC reforms that aim to: achieve universal access and social protection, so as to improve health equity; re-organize service delivery around people’s needs and expectations; secure healthier communities through better public policies; and remodel leadership for health around more effective government and the active participation of key stakeholders.

This Report comes 30 years after the Alma-Ata Conference of 1978 on primary health care, which agreed to tackle the “politically, socially and economically unacceptable” health inequalities in all countries. Much has been accomplished in this regard: if children were still dying at 1978 rates, there would have been 16.2 million child deaths globally in 2006 instead of the actual 9.5 million. Yet, progress in health has been deeply and unacceptably unequal, with many disadvantaged populations increasingly lagging behind or even losing ground.

Meanwhile, the nature of health problems is changing dramatically.

Urbanization, globalization and other factors speed the worldwide transmission of communicable diseases, and increase the burden of chronic disorders. Climate change and food insecurity will have major implications for health in the years ahead thereby creating enormous challenges for an effective and equitable response.

In the face of all this, business as usual for health systems is not a viable option. Many systems seem to be drifting from one short-term priority to another, increasingly fragmented and without a strong sense of preparedness for what lies ahead.

Fortunately, the current international environment is favourable to a renewal of PHC. Global health is receiving unprecedented attention. There is growing interest in united action, with greater calls for comprehensive, universal care and health in all policies. Expectations have never been so high.

By capitalizing on this momentum, investment in primary health care reforms can transform health systems and improve the health of individuals, families and communities everywhere. For everyone interested in how progress in health can be made in the 21st century, the

World

Health Report 2008

is indispensable reading.

couverture_cor.indd xx-1 16.9.2008 17:07:31

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