Equitable health services

Critical view on the role of hospitals in increasing access to health
Krebs V: Geneva Health Forum, 1 September 2006

Hospitals have always played a pivotal role in the global healthcare system. They have power, authority and professional competences in both the rich and poor worlds. But what if we all begin to re-think the mission of hospital care and re-design the way we deliver it in order to increase access to health? The moment has arrived for reform in order to achieve optimal care, to learn from examples of real innovation and disseminate this knowledge, sharing ideas as well as best practices. For example one speaker at this session of the August 2006 Geneva Health Forum noted that the mission of hospitals has shifted from delivering specialized care to our patients; to responsibility for the care in our region; to promoting health to all our citizens.

Disease control programmes: Undermining comprehensive care?
Krebs V: Geneva Health Forum, 1 September 2006

What is the best way to address the health care needs of an underserved population? Is it through disease prevention or is it through a more comprehensive and coordinated approach? According to a session of the August 2006 Geneva Health Forum integration of the two approaches is the key to a successful health care delivery system, providing wider access to a greater number of the population. The vertical approach is disease-centred, while the horizontal approach is patient-centred. The use of resources in a vertical approach is dictated by a centralized authority, while the horizontal approach encompasses area-wide planning at the centre with final decision-making devolved to the local or district level. Experiences reported from Uganda and Tanzania indicated limitations of the vertical approach and the better results provided by the adoption of a horizontal approach.

Ensuring access to health care for migrants
Berry S: Geneva Health Forum, 31 August 2006

The fifth largest nation in the world does not have sufficient access to health. Indeed if migrants were seen as a country, they would represent a significant nation in terms of population. How can we explain that so many people do not have access to health care? The focus of this symposium, chaired by Angela Davies from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and Sandro Cattacin from the University of Geneva, was on the unequal provision of health services for migrants.

Improving health, connecting people: The role of ICTs in the health sector of developing countries
Chetley A: InfoDev, 31 May 2006

This framework paper is aimed at policy makers who are involved in the development or management of programmes in the health sector in developing countries. It provides a ‘snapshot’ of the type of information and communication technology (ICT) interventions that are being used in the health sector, and the policy debates around ICTs and health. It draws from the experience of use in both the North and South, but with a focus on applicability in the South to identify the most effective and relevant uses of ICTs.

How can food security interventions be improved to protect livelihoods in the Greater Horn of Africa?
Humanitarian Policy Group, ODI: Eldis , 2006

This Briefing Note reviews the extent of emergency livelihoods responses during the most recent drought and resulting food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Drawing on secondary data and interviews with national and international actors in affected areas, it asks why accurate and timely early warning did not lead to a rapid and appropriate response to mitigate the drought’s effects, and highlights how inadequate contingency planning, limited capacity in livelihoods programming and inflexible funding mechanisms resulted in delays and deficiencies in livelihoods interventions, and the predominance of food assistance in the emergency response.

Implementing a sector wide approach in health: The case of Mozambique
Martinez J: HLSP Institute, 2006

The strengths and weaknesses of the sector wide approach (SWAP) have been extensively analysed, but much less has been written on country experience to inform good practice elsewhere. This technical paper draws some lessons from SWAP in health in Mozambique. SWAP is not a panacea for donor coordination, and cannot address deep-rooted constraints typical of a young national health system. This paper explores how the key elements of the SWAP have been developed, how processes and mechanisms are working now, and studies some of its successes and challenges.

WHO and UNICEF tackle problem of lack of essential medicines for children
World Health Organisation, 14 August 2006

The first "International Expert Consultation on Paediatric Essential Medicines", jointly held by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has delivered a plan to boost access to essential medicines for children. During two days of intensive discussion held 9-10 August at WHO's headquarters in Geneva, a mix of more than twenty developed and developing countries, non-governmental organizations including Médecins Sans Frontières, regulatory agencies, UNICEF and WHO staff prioritised a long-needed approach to overall paediatric care.

How much time do health services spend on antenatal care: Implications for the introduction of the focused antenatal care model in Tanzania
von Both C, Fleßa S, Makuwani A, Mpembeni R, Jahn A: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 6 (22), 23 June 2006

Antenatal care (ANC) is a widely used strategy to improve the health of pregnant women and to encourage skilled care during childbirth. In 2002, the Ministry of Health of the United Republic of Tanzania developed a national adaptation plan based on the new model of the World Health Organisation (WHO). This study assesses the time health workers currently spent on providing ANC services and compare it to the requirements anticipated for the new ANC model in order to identify the implications of Focused ANC on health care providers’ workload.

Seeking treatment for childhood fevers in Tanzania
Kamat VR: id21 Research Highlight, 18 July 2006

In Tanzania, parents seeking treatment for children with severe, often malaria-related, fever vary in their choice of care. Their choice is influenced by a range of social and cultural factors that need to be better understood if children are to be successfully treated. In urban and peri-urban areas of Tanzania, many parents would prefer to take their children to a biomedical facility. However, opening and closing times are not always convenient. Consequently, parents often have no choice but to seek out a traditional healer who can provide treatment and comfort at more convenient hours.

Top level push to tackle priorities in sexual and reproductive health
World Health Organisation/ United Nations Population Fund, 20 June 2006

Globally, inadequate sexual and reproductive health services have resulted in maternal deaths and rising numbers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly in developing countries. Leaders of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, are coordinating action to reverse the global trend of deteriorating levels of sexual and reproductive health and reduce the adverse impact on mothers, babies and young people.