Resource allocation and health financing

An Assessment of Domestic Financing for Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (RMNCH) in Sub-Saharan Africa: Potential Gains and Fiscal Space
Atim C; Arthur E; Achala D; Novignon J: Applied Health Economics and Health Policy 18, 789–799, 2020

This study analysed the gains from increased domestic financing for improving RMNCH outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). While there were significant gains from both domestic and external financing, the estimated elasticities suggest that the gains from domestic public financing were much stronger. The fiscal space options identified include tax revenue performance improvements, improved public financial management, and borrowing, at least in the short to medium term. The results show that fiscal space from improved tax systems ranged from US$34.6 per capita in Uganda to US$310.6 per capita in Nigeria. The authors recommend increased domestic financing for health through innovations in domestic resource mobilization, particularly by improving the performance of tax systems.

The impact of introducing ambulance and delivery fees in a rural hospital in Tanzania
Vossius C; Mduma E; Moshiro R; Mdoe P; et al: BMC Health Services Research 21 (99), 1-9, 2021

This study assessed the impact of introducing user fees on 28 601 births at Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Tanzania, comparing the period before introduction of fees from February 2010 through June 2013 and the period after from January 2014 through January 2017. The monthly number of births fell by 17.3% after fees were introduced. After the introduction of ambulance and delivery fees, the study found an increase in labour complications and caesarean sections and a decrease in newborns with low birthweight. The authors suggest that this might indicate that women delayed seeking skilled birth attendance or did not seek help at all, possibly due to financial reasons, and argue that free delivery care should be a high priority.

Assessing the geographical distribution of comorbidity among commercially insured individuals in South Africa
Mannie C; Kharrazi H: BMC Public Health 20(1709), 1-11, doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09771-6, 2020

This study assessed the geographical distribution of comorbidity and its associated financial implications among commercially insured individuals in South Africa. The authors aggregated individual risk scores to determine the average risk score per district, also known as the comorbidity index, to describe the overall disease burden of each district The authors observed consistently high comorbidity index scores in districts of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces for all population groups before and after age adjustment. Some areas exhibited almost 30% higher healthcare utilization after age adjustment. Districts in the Northern Cape and Limpopo provinces had the lowest comorbidity index scores with 40% lower than expected healthcare utilization in some areas after age adjustment. The results show underlying disparities in the comorbidity index at national, provincial, and district levels.

Challenges and Opportunities in China’s Health Aid to Africa: Findings from Qualitative Interviews in Tanzania and Malawi
Daly G; Kaufman J; Lin S; Gao L; et al: Globalization and Health 16(71), 1-10 doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-020-00577-0, 2020

This paper presents a qualitative study of perceptions and opinions regarding Chinese-supported health related activities in Africa through in-depth interviews among local African and Chinese participants in Malawi and Tanzania. The findings revealed shared experiences and views related to challenges in communication; cultural perspectives and historical context; divergence between political and business agendas; organization of aid implementation; management and leadership; and sustainability. Participants were broadly supportive and highly valued Chinese investment in health. However, they also shared common insights on challenges in communication between health teams; and limited understanding of priorities and expectations, and the need to improve needs assessments, rigorous reporting, and monitoring and evaluation systems.

Spending, Accountability, and Recovery Measures included in IMF COVID-19 loans
Oxfam, United Kingdom, 2020

To respond to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has committed $1 trillion and so far provided $89 billion worth of financial assistance to countries around the world. Oxfam has tracked this COVID-19 financing and fiscal measures referenced in each of the 91 packages approved so far using official IMF reports for the respective countries. The tracker covers the amounts of funding IMF committed and disbursed to borrowing countries by region, types of financing instruments the Fund has employed, the borrowing countries’ current debt situation, fiscal policy measures, particularly social spending aimed at addressing the crisis, anti-corruption and transparency measures which countries have committed to undertake, and proposed fiscal measures for the recovery period. The text provided in this tracker is a compilation of select and relevant quotes/excerpts from official IMF reports while the debt data was drawn from the World Bank’s Debtor Reporting System. The tracker has been compiled for the benefit of persons and institutions wanting a snapshot view of what governments are borrowing, what they intend to do with these funds, what the IMF is encouraging countries to take during the pandemic and in the recovery period, and to give citizens and civil society a tool to hold their governments and the IMF accountable.

Access to sexual and reproductive health commodities in East and Southern Africa: a cross-country comparison of availability, affordability and stock-outs in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia
Ooms G; Kibira D; Reed T; van den Ham H; et al: BMC Public Health 20(1053) doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09155-w, 2020

Price, availability and stock-out data was collected in July 2019 for over fifty lowest-priced sexual and reproductive health (SRH) commodities from public, private and private not-for-profit health facilities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Affordability was calculated using the wage of a lowest-paid government worker. Accessibility was illustrated by combining the availability and affordability measures. Overall availability of SRHC was low at less than 50% in all sectors, areas and countries, with highest mean availability found in Kenyan public facilities. Stock-outs were common; the average number of stock-out days per month ranged from 3 days in Kenya’s private and private not-for-profit sectors, to 12 days in Zambia’s public sector. In the public sectors of Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, as well as in Zambia’s private not-for-profit sector, all were free for the patient. In the other sectors unaffordability ranged from 2 to 9 SRH commodities being unaffordable. Accessibility was low across the countries, with Kenya’s and Zambia’s public sectors having six SRH commodities that met the accessibility threshold, while the private sector of Uganda had only one meeting the threshold. Accessibility of SRH commodities remains a challenge. Low availability in the public sector is compounded by regular stock-outs, forcing patients to seek care in other sectors where there are availability and affordability challenges. The authors propose that the findings be used by national governments to identify the gaps and shortcomings in their supply chains.

Challenges and Opportunities in China’s Health Aid to Africa: Findings from Qualitative Interviews in Tanzania and Malawi
Daly G; Kaufman J; Lin S; Gao L; et al: Globalization and Health 16(71) doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-020-00577-0, 2020

Perceptions regarding Chinese-supported health related activities in Africa were gathered through in-depth interviews among local African and Chinese participants in Malawi and Tanzania. The findings revealed shared experiences and views related to challenges in communication; cultural perspectives and historical context; divergence between political and business agendas; organization of aid implementation; management and leadership; and sustainability. Participants were broadly supportive and highly valued Chinese health aid. However, they also shared common insights that relate to challenging coordination between China and recipient countries; impediments to communication between health teams; and limited understanding of priorities and expectations. Further, they share perspectives about the need for shaping the assistance based on needs assessments as well as the importance of rigorous reporting, and monitoring and evaluation systems. The authors’ findings suggested that China faces similar challenges to those experienced by other longstanding development aid and global health funders.

Community Statement on Covid-19 Realities, and Demands for a More Adequate and People-centred Response - Chiawelo Budgeting for Change
Chiawelo Budgeting for Change (CBC) group: Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, South Africa, 2020

“In Chiawelo, we are united as a community; people are kind, loving and supportive but most of all it's a place full of diversity- it allows us to learn different cultures, languages and teaches us to respect different people”. These are the words of eighteen-year-old Sanele Nkosi, the youngest member of the Chiawelo Budgeting for Change (CBC) Group, based in Soweto, Johannesburg. The group is a reflection of Sanele’s words, including many different people from many different walks of life: traditional Healers, local community members, clinic workers, community health workers, ward based outreach teams, clinic committee members and local government officials amongst others. In this Community Statement, the group highlight with evidence the health realities and resource gaps faced around the COVID-19 pandemic, including lack of access to social protection, food security, sanitation and adequate health care, gender-based violence, unsafe transport and reopening of educational institutions, youth unemployment, lack of support to the small business sector, for those in chronic unemployment and for community-led COVID-19 responses and safety initiatives and poor working conditions for Community Health Workers. They call for resources for a people- centred response to the COVID-19 pandemic and access to the rights people are entitled to.

What has been the progress in addressing financial risk in Uganda? Analysis of catastrophe and impoverishment due to health payments
Kwesiga B; Aliti T; Nabukhonzo P; Najuko S; et al: BMC Health Services Research 20(741) doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05500-, 2020

This study of progress in financial risk protection in Uganda used data from the Uganda National Household Surveys for 2005/06, 2009/10, 2012/13 and 2016/17, measuring financial risk protection in terms of catastrophic health care payments and impoverishment. Although catastrophic health payments at the 10% threshold decreased from 22.4% in 2005/06 to 13.8% in 2012/13, they increased to 14.2% in 2016/17. The percentage of Ugandans pushed below the national poverty line decreased from 5.2% in 2005/06 to 2.7% in 2016/17. The distribution of both catastrophic health payments and impoverishment varied across socio-economic status, location and residence. The authors suggest targeted interventions reduce ‘out-of-pocket’ (OOP) payments among those affected and ensure that public health services are funded adequately, through forms of mandatory prepayment.

How best we can achieve a universal health system: a public conversation
McIntyre D: Health Systems Trust, March 2020

Emeritus Professor Diane McIntyre presents her chapter on: 'How best we can achieve a universal health system: a public conversation'. The chapter was published in the recent South African Health Review. She calls for a broadening of the national discourse on universal health coverage and proposes that the term is replaced with the term 'universal health system' which she suggests is less open to misinterpretation.

Pages