Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (873022)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Human resources for health at the district level in Indonesia: the smoke and mirrors of decentralization 
In 2001 Indonesia embarked on a rapid decentralization of government finances and functions to district governments. One of the results is that government has less information about its most valuable resource, the people who provide the services. The objective of the work reported here is to determine the stock of human resources for health in 15 districts, their service status and primary place of work. It also assesses the effect of decentralization on management of human resources and the implications for the future.
We enumerated all health care providers (doctors, nurses and midwives), including information on their employment status and primary place of work, in each of 15 districts in Java. Data were collected by three teams, one for each province.
Provider density (number of doctors, nurses and midwives/1000 population) was low by international standards – 11 out of 15 districts had provider densities less than 1.0. Approximately half of all three professional groups were permanent public servants. Contractual employment was also important for both nurses and midwives. The private sector as the primary source of employment is most important for doctors (37% overall) and increasingly so for midwives (10%). For those employed in the public sector, two-thirds of doctors and nurses work in health centres, while most midwives are located at village-level health facilities.
In the health system established after Independence, the facilities established were staffed through a period of obligatory service for all new graduates in medicine, nursing and midwifery. The last elements of that staffing system ended in 2007 and the government has not been able to replace it. The private sector is expanding and, despite the fact that it will be of increasing importance in the coming decades, government information about providers in private practice is decreasing. Despite the promise of decentralization to increase sectoral "decision space" at the district level, the central government now has control over essentially all public sector health staff at the district level, marking a return to the situation of 20 years ago. At the same time, Indonesia has changed dramatically. The challenge now is to envision a new health system that takes account of these changes. Envisioning the new system is a crucial first step for development of a human resources policy which, in turn, will require more information about health care providers, public and private, and increased capacity for human resource planning.
PMCID: PMC2662783  PMID: 19192269
2.  Recent changes in human resources for health and health facilities at the district level in Indonesia: evidence from 3 districts in Java 
There is continuing discussion in Indonesia about the need for improved information on human resources for health at the district level where programs are actually delivered. This is particularly the case after a central government decision to offer doctors, nurses and midwives on contract the chance to convert to permanent civil service status. Our objective here is to report changes between 2006 and 2008 in numbers and employment status of health staff in three districts following the central government decision.
Information was derived from records at the district health office and, where necessary for clarification, discussions with district officials.
Across the three districts and all public sector provider categories there was an increase of almost 680 providers between 2006 and 2008 - more than 300 nurses, more than 300 midwives and 25 doctors. The increases for permanent public servants were proportionately much greater (43%) than the total (16%). The increase in those who are permanent civil servants was greatest for nurses (51%) and midwives (35%) with corresponding decreases in the proportion of staff on contract. There was considerable variation between the three districts.
There has been a significant increase in the number of healthcare providers in the 3 districts surveyed and the proportion now permanent public servants has increased even more than the increase in total numbers. The changes have the effect of increasing the proportion of total public expenditure allocated to salaries and reducing the flexibility of the districts in managing their own budgets. Because public servants are allowed private practice outside office hours there has also been an increase in the number of private practice facilities offering health care. These changes illustrate the need for a much improved human resources information system and a coherent policy to guide actions on human resources for health at the national, provincial and district levels.
PMCID: PMC3049179  PMID: 21314986
3.  Health workforce responses to global health initiatives funding: a comparison of Malawi and Zambia 
Shortages of health workers are obstacles to utilising global health initiative (GHI) funds effectively in Africa. This paper reports and analyses two countries' health workforce responses during a period of large increases in GHI funds.
Health facility record reviews were conducted in 52 facilities in Malawi and 39 facilities in Zambia in 2006/07 and 2008; quarterly totals from the last quarter of 2005 to the first quarter of 2008 inclusive in Malawi; and annual totals for 2004 to 2007 inclusive in Zambia. Topic-guided interviews were conducted with facility and district managers in both countries, and with health workers in Malawi.
Facility data confirm significant scale-up in HIV/AIDS service delivery in both countries. In Malawi, this was supported by a large increase in lower trained cadres and only a modest increase in clinical staff numbers. Routine outpatient workload fell in urban facilities, in rural health centres and in facilities not providing antiretroviral treatment (ART), while it increased at district hospitals and in facilities providing ART. In Zambia, total staff and clinical staff numbers stagnated between 2004 and 2007. In rural areas, outpatient workload, which was higher than at urban facilities, increased further. Key informants described the effects of increased workloads in both countries and attributed staff migration from public health facilities to non-government facilities in Zambia to PEPFAR.
Malawi, which received large levels of GHI funding from only the Global Fund, managed to increase facility staff across all levels of the health system: urban, district and rural health facilities, supported by task-shifting to lower trained staff. The more complex GHI arena in Zambia, where both Global Fund and PEPFAR provided large levels of support, may have undermined a coordinated national workforce response to addressing health worker shortages, leading to a less effective response in rural areas.
PMCID: PMC2925328  PMID: 20701749
4.  Public-sector Maternal Health Programmes and Services for Rural Bangladesh 
Achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 in Bangladesh calls for an appreciation of the evolution of maternal healthcare within the national health system to date plus a projection of future needs. This paper assesses the development of maternal health services and policies by reviewing policy and strategy documents since the independence in 1971, with primary focus on rural areas where three-fourths of the total population of Bangladesh reside. Projections of need for facilities and human resources are based on the recommended standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996 and 2005. Although maternal healthcare services are delivered from for-profit and not-for-profit (NGO) subsectors, this paper is focused on maternal healthcare delivery by public subsector. Maternal healthcare services in the public sector of Bangladesh have been guided by global policies (e.g. Health for All by the Year 2000), national policies (e.g. population and health policy), and plans (e.g. five- or three-yearly). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), through its two wings—Health Services and Family Planning—sets policies, develops implementation plans, and provides rural public-health services. Since 1971, the health infrastructure has developed though not in a uniform pattern and despite policy shifts over time. Under the Family Planning wing of the MoHFW, the number of Maternal and Child Welfare Centres has not increased but new services, such as caesarean-section surgery, have been integrated. The Health Services wing of the MoHFW has ensured that all district-level public-health facilities, e.g. district hospitals and medical colleges, can provide comprehensive essential obstetric care (EOC) and have targeted to upgrade 132 of 407 rural Upazila Health Complexes to also provide such services. In 2001, they initiated a programme to train the Government's community workers (Family Welfare Assistants and Female Health Assistants) to provide skilled birthing care in the home. However, these plans have been too meagre, and their implementation is too weak to fulfill expectations in terms of the MDG 5 indicator—increased use of skilled birth attendants, especially for poor rural women. The use of skilled birth attendants, institutional deliveries, and use of caesarean section remain low and are increasing only slowly. All these indicators are substantially lower for those in the lower three socioeconomic quintiles. A wide variation exists in the availability of comprehensive EOC facilities in the public sector among the six divisions of the country. Rajshahi division has more facilities than the WHO 1996 standard (1 comprehensive EOC for 500,000 people) whereas Chittagong and Sylhet divisions have only 64% of their need for comprehensive EOC facilities. The WHO 2005 recommendation (1 comprehensive EOC for 3,500 births) suggests that there is a need for nearly five times the existing national number of comprehensive EOC facilities. Based on the WHO standard 2005, it is estimated that 9% of existing doctors and 40% of nurses/midwives were needed just for maternal healthcare in both comprehensive EOC and basic EOC facilities in 2007. While the inability to train and retain skilled professionals in rural areas is the major problem in implementation, the bifurcation of the MoHFW (Health Services and Family Planning wings) has led to duplication in management and staff for service-delivery, inefficiencies as a result of these duplications, and difficulties of coordination at all levels. The Government of Bangladesh needs to functionally integrate the Health Services and Family Planning wings, move towards a facility-based approach to delivery, ensure access to key maternal health services for women in the lower socioeconomic quintiles, consider infrastructure development based on the estimation of facilities using the WHO 1996 recommendation, and undertake a human resource-development plan based on the WHO 2005 recommendation.
PMCID: PMC2761780  PMID: 19489411
Maternal health; Maternal health services; Rural health services; Bangladesh
5.  Task sharing in Zambia: HIV service scale-up compounds the human resource crisis 
Considerable attention has been given by policy makers and researchers to the human resources for health crisis in Africa. However, little attention has been paid to quantifying health facility-level trends in health worker numbers, distribution and workload, despite growing demands on health workers due to the availability of new funds for HIV/AIDS control scale-up. This study analyses and reports trends in HIV and non-HIV ambulatory service workloads on clinical staff in urban and rural district level facilities.
Structured surveys of health facility managers, and health services covering 2005-07 were conducted in three districts of Zambia in 2008 (two urban and one rural), to fill this evidence gap. Intra-facility analyses were conducted, comparing trends in HIV and non-HIV service utilisation with staff trends.
Clinical staff (doctors, nurses and nurse-midwives, and clinical officers) numbers and staff population densities fell slightly, with lower ratios of staff to population in the rural district. The ratios of antenatal care and family planning registrants to nurses/nurse-midwives were highest at baseline and increased further at the rural facilities over the three years, while daily outpatient department (OPD) workload in urban facilities fell below that in rural facilities. HIV workload, as measured by numbers of clients receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) per facility staff member, was highest in the capital city, but increased rapidly in all three districts. The analysis suggests evidence of task sharing, in that staff designated by managers as ART and PMTCT workers made up a higher proportion of frontline service providers by 2007.
This analysis of workforce patterns across 30 facilities in three districts of Zambia illustrates that the remarkable achievements in scaling-up HIV/AIDS service delivery has been on the back of sustained non-HIV workload levels, increasing HIV workload and stagnant health worker numbers. The findings are based on an analysis of routine data that are available to district and national managers. Mixed methods research is needed, combining quantitative analyses of routine health information with follow-up qualitative interviews, to explore and explain workload changes, and to identify and measure where problems are most acute, so that decision makers can respond appropriately. This study provides quantitative evidence of a human resource crisis in health facilities in Zambia, which may be more acute in rural areas.
PMCID: PMC2955013  PMID: 20849626
6.  Emergency referral transport for maternal complication: lessons from the community based maternal death audits in Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh, India 
Background: An effective emergency referral transport system is the link between the home of the pregnant woman and a health facility providing basic or comprehensive emergency obstetric care. This study attempts to explore the role of emergency transport associated with maternal deaths in Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Methods: A descriptive study was carried out to assess the causes of and factors leading to maternal deaths in Unnao district, UP, through community based Maternal Death Review (MDR) using verbal autopsy, in a sample of 57 maternal deaths conducted between June 1, 2009, and May 31, 2010. A facility review was also conducted in 15 of the 16 block level and district health facilities to collect information on preparedness of the facilities for treating obstetric complications including referral transportation. A descriptive analysis was carried out using ratios and percentages to analyze the availability of basic facilities which may lead to maternal deaths.
Results: It was found that there were only 10 ambulances available at 15 facilities against 19 required as per Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS). About 47% of the deaths took place in a facility, 30% enroute to a health facility and 23% at home. Twenty five percent of women were taken to one facility, 32% were taken to two facilities, and 25% were taken to three facilities while 19% were not taken to any facility before their death. Sixteen percent of the pregnant women could not arrange transportation to reach any facility. The mean time to make arrangements for travel from home to facility-1 and facility-2 to facility-3 was 3.1 hours; whereas from facility-1 to facility-2 was 9.9 hours. The mean travel time from home to facility-1 was 1 hour, from facility-1 to facility-2 was 1.4 hours and facility-2 to facility-3 was 1.6 hours.
Conclusion: The public health facility review and MDR, clearly indicates that the inter-facility transfers appropriateness and timeliness of referral are major contributing factor for maternal deaths in Unnao district, UP. The UP Government, besides strengthening Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) and Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) services in the district and state as a whole, also needs to focus on developing a functional and effective referral system on a priority basis to reduce the maternal deaths in Unnao district.
PMCID: PMC4322633
Referral Transport; Maternal Deaths; Facility Review; Maternal Death Review (MDR)
7.  An overview of Ghana’s mental health system: results from an assessment using the World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) 
This survey provides data on the Mental Health System in Ghana for the year 2011. It supplies essential planning information for the implementation of Ghana’s new Mental Health Act 846 of 2012, a renewal of the Ghana 5 year plan for mental health and it contributes to international knowledge base on mental health. It provides a baseline from which to measure future progress in Ghana and comparison data for use in other countries. In addition to reporting our findings we describe and analyse deficiencies and strengths of the Ghana mental health system.
We used the World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) to collect, analyse, and report data on the mental health system and services for all districts of the ten regions of Ghana. Data was collected in 2012, based on the year 2011.
In 2011, Ghana was a lower middle income country with a population of approximately 25 million. A mental health policy, plan and legislation were in place. Mental health legislation was outdated and no longer in line with best practice standards. Services were significantly underfunded with only 1.4% of the health expenditure going to mental health, and spending very much skewed towards urban areas. There were 123 mental health outpatient facilities, 3 psychiatric hospitals, 7 community based psychiatric inpatient units, 4 community residential facilities and 1 day treatment centre, which is well below what would be expected for Ghana’s economic status. The majority of patients were treated in outpatient facilities and psychiatric hospitals and most of the inpatient beds were provided by the latter. There were an estimated 2.4 million people with mental health problems of which 67,780 (ie 2.8%) received treatment in 2011. The were 18 psychiatrists, 1,068 Registered Mental Nurses, 19 psychologists, 72 Community Mental Health Officers and 21 social workers working in mental health which is unbalanced with an unbalanced emphasis on nurses compared to what would be expected.
The main strength of the mental health system was the presence of a long established service with staff working across the country in outpatients departments and hospitals. The main weakness was that government spending on mental health was very low and the bulk of services, albeit very sparse, were centred around the capital city leaving much of the rest of the country with almost no provision. Service provision was dominated by nurses with few other professions groups present.
PMCID: PMC4016652  PMID: 24817908
Mental health; Ghana; WHO-AIMS
8.  Current situation of midwives in indonesia: Evidence from 3 districts in West Java Province 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:287.
The village midwife is a central element of Indonesia's strategy to improve maternal and child health and family planning services. Recently there has been concern that the midwives were not present in the villages to which they had been assigned. To determine the extent to which this was the case we conducted a field-based census and survey of village midwives in three districts in West Java Province, Indonesia.
In June 2009 we interviewed a random sample of village midwives from three districts - Ciamis, Garut and Sukabumi - in West Java Province. Trained interviewers visited all villages represented in the sample to interview the midwives. We also obtained information about the midwives and their professional activities in the last year.
Thirty percent of village midwives had moved to another location in the 12 months between the end of 2008, when the sampling frame was constructed, and December 2009 when the survey was conducted; most had moved to a government health center or another village. Of those who were present, there was considerable variation between districts in age distribution and qualifications. The total number of services provided was modest, also with considerable variation between districts. The median number of deliveries assisted in the last year was 64; the amount and mix of family planning services provided varied between districts and were dominated by temporary methods.
Compared to an earlier survey in an adjacent province, the village midwives in these three districts were younger, had spent less time in the village and a higher proportion were permanent civil servants. A high proportion had moved in the previous year with most moving to a health center or another village. The decision to move, as well as the mix of services offered, seems to be largely driven by opportunities to increase their private practice income. These opportunities are greater in urban areas. As urbanization procedes the forces drawing village midwives away from the village are certain to strengthen. This will require a reassessment of the original service model embodied in the village midwife concept and a new approach to reducing maternal mortality.
PMCID: PMC2992543
9.  Infection control in delivery care units, Gujarat state, India: A needs assessment 
Increasingly, women in India attend health facilities for childbirth, partly due to incentives paid under government programs. Increased use of health facilities can alleviate the risks of infections contracted in unhygienic home deliveries, but poor infection control practices in labour and delivery units also cause puerperal sepsis and other infections of childbirth. A needs assessment was conducted to provide information on procedures and practices related to infection control in labour and delivery units in Gujarat state, India.
Twenty health care facilities, including private and public primary health centres and referral hospitals, were sampled from two districts in Gujarat state, India. Three pre-tested tools for interviewing and for observation were used. Data collection was based on existing infection control guidelines for clean practices, clean equipment, clean environment and availability of diagnostics and treatment. The study was carried out from April to May 2009.
Seventy percent of respondents said that standard infection control procedures were followed, but a written procedure was only available in 5% of facilities. Alcohol rubs were not used for hand cleaning and surgical gloves were reused in over 70% of facilities, especially for vaginal examinations in the labour room. Most types of equipment and supplies were available but a third of facilities did not have wash basins with "hands-free" taps. Only 15% of facilities reported that wiping of surfaces was done immediately after each delivery in labour rooms. Blood culture services were available in 25% of facilities and antibiotics are widely given to women after normal delivery. A few facilities had data on infections and reported rates of 3% to 5%.
This study of current infection control procedures and practices during labour and delivery in health facilities in Gujarat revealed a need for improved information systems, protocols and procedures, and for training and research. Simply incentivizing the behaviour of women to use health facilities for childbirth via government schemes may not guarantee safe delivery.
PMCID: PMC3115920  PMID: 21599924
10.  Assessment of facility readiness and provider preparedness for dealing with postpartum haemorrhage and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia in public and private health facilities of northern Karnataka, India: a cross-sectional study 
The maternal mortality ratio in India has been declining over the past decade, but remains unacceptably high at 212 per 100,000 live births. Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and pre- eclampsia/eclampsia contribute to 40% of all maternal deaths. We assessed facility readiness and provider preparedness to deal with these two maternal complications in public and private health facilities of northern Karnataka state, south India.
We undertook a cross-sectional study of 131 primary health centres (PHCs) and 148 higher referral facilities (74 public and 74 private) in eight districts of the region. Facility infrastructure and providers’ knowledge related to screening and management of complications were assessed using facility checklists and test cases, respectively. We also attempted an audit of case sheets to assess provider practice in the management of complications. Chi square tests were used for comparing proportions.
84.5% and 62.9% of all facilities had atleast one doctor and three nurses, respectively; only 13% of higher facilities had specialists. Magnesium sulphate, the drug of choice to control convulsions in eclampsia was available in 18% of PHCs, 48% of higher public facilities and 70% of private facilities. In response to the test case on eclampsia, 54.1% and 65.1% of providers would administer anti-hypertensives and magnesium sulphate, respectively; 24% would administer oxygen and only 18% would monitor for magnesium sulphate toxicity. For the test case on PPH, only 37.7% of the providers would assess for uterine tone, and 40% correctly defined early PPH. Specialists were better informed than the other cadres, and the differences were statistically significant. We experienced generally poor response rates for audits due to non-availability and non-maintenance of case sheets.
Addressing gaps in facility readiness and provider competencies for emergency obstetric care, alongside improving coverage of institutional deliveries, is critical to improve maternal outcomes. It is necessary to strengthen providers’ clinical and problem solving skills through capacity building initiatives beyond pre-service training, such as through onsite mentoring and supportive supervision programs. This should be backed by a health systems response to streamline staffing and supply chains in order to improve the quality of emergency obstetric care.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-304) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4161844  PMID: 25189169
Postpartum haemorrhage; Pre-eclampsia; Eclampsia; Facility readiness; Provider preparedness; Quality; Maternal care; Public sector; Private sector
11.  Does contracting of health care in Afghanistan work? Public and service-users' perceptions and experience 
BMC Health Services Research  2011;11(Suppl 2):S11.
In rebuilding devastated health services, the government of Afghanistan has provided access to basic services mainly by contracting with non-government organisations (NGOs), and more recently the Strengthening Mechanism (SM) of contracting with Provincial Health Offices. Community-based information about the public's views and experience of health services is scarce.
Field teams visited households in a stratified random sample of 30 communities in two districts in Kabul province, with health services mainly provided either by an NGO or through the SM and administered a questionnaire about household views, use, and experience of health services, including payments for services and corruption. They later discussed the findings with separate community focus groups of men and women. We calculated weighted frequencies of views and experience of services and multivariate analysis examined the related factors.
The survey covered 3283 households including 2845 recent health service users. Some 42% of households in the SM district and 57% in the NGO district rated available health services as good. Some 63% of households in the SM district (adjacent to Kabul) and 93% in the NGO district ordinarily used government health facilities. Service users rated private facilities more positively than government facilities. Government service users were more satisfied in urban facilities, if the household head was not educated, if they had enough food in the last week, and if they waited less than 30 minutes. Many households were unwilling to comment on corruption in health services; 15% in the SM district and 26% in the NGO district reported having been asked for an unofficial payment. Despite a policy of free services, one in seven users paid for treatment in government facilities, and three in four paid for medicine outside the facilities. Focus groups confirmed people knew payments were unofficial; they were afraid to talk about corruption.
Households used government health services but preferred private services. The experience of service users was similar in the SM and NGO districts. People made unofficial payments in government facilities, whether SM or NGO run. Tackling corruption in health services is an important part of anti-corruption measures in Afghanistan.
PMCID: PMC3332555  PMID: 22376191
12.  Availability of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) among public and private health facilities in rural northwest Bangladesh 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:36.
Although safe motherhood strategies recommend that women seek timely care from health facilities for obstetric complications, few studies have described facility availability of emergency obstetric care (EmOC). We sought to describe and compare availability and readiness to provide EmOC among public and private health facilities commonly visited for pregnancy-related complications in two districts of northwest Bangladesh. We also described aspects of financial and geographic access to healthcare and key constraints to EmOC provision.
Using data from a large population-based community trial, we identified and surveyed the 14 health facilities (7 public, 7 private) most frequently visited for obstetric complications and near misses as reported by women. Availability of EmOC was based on provision of medical services, assessed through clinician interviews and record review. Levels of EmOC availability were defined as basic or comprehensive. Readiness for EmOC provision was based on scores in four categories: staffing, equipment, laboratory capacity, and medicines. Readiness scores were calculated using unweighted averages. Costs of C-section procedures and geographic locations of facilities were described. Textual analysis was used to identify key constraints.
The seven surveyed private facilities offered comprehensive EmOC compared to four of the seven public facilities. With 100% representing full readiness, mean EmOC readiness was 81% (range: 63%-91%) among surveyed private facilities compared to 67% (range: 48%-91%) in public facilities (p = 0.040). Surveyed public clinics had low scores on staffing and laboratory capacity (69%; 50%). The mean cost of the C-section procedure in private clinics was $77 (standard deviation: $16) and free in public facilities. The public sub-district facilities were the only facilities located in rural areas, with none providing comprehensive EmOC. Shortages in specialized staff were listed as the main barrier to EmOC provision in public facilities.
Although EmOC availability and readiness was higher among the surveyed seven most commonly visited private clinics, public facilities appeared to be more affordable for C-section and more geographically accessible. Strategies to retain anesthesiologists and surgeons, such as non-financial incentives, are needed to improve EmOC provision in the public sector. Centralized blood banks are recommended to streamline safe blood acquisition for obstetric surgeries.
PMCID: PMC4316389  PMID: 25637319
Maternal health; Rural Bangladesh; Emergency obstetric care; Quality of care; Global health; Human resources for health
13.  Supply-related drivers of staff motivation for providing intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy in Tanzania: evidence from two rural districts 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:48.
Since its introduction in the national antenatal care (ANC) system in Tanzania in 2001, little evidence is documented regarding the motivation and performance of health workers (HWs) in the provision of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) services in the national ANC clinics and the implications such motivation and performance might have had on HWs and services' compliance with the recommended IPTp delivery guidelines. This paper describes the supply-related drivers of motivation and performance of HWs in administering IPTp doses among other ANC services delivered in public and private health facilities (HFs) in Tanzania, using a case study of Mkuranga and Mufindi districts.
Interviews were conducted with 78 HWs participating in the delivery of ANC services in private and public HFs and were supplemented by personal communications with the members of the district council health management team. The research instrument used in the data collection process contained a mixture of closed and open-ended questions. Some of the open-ended questions had to be coded in the form that allowed their analysis quantitatively.
In both districts, respondents acknowledged IPTp as an essential intervention, but expressed dissatisfaction with their working environments constraining their performance, including health facility (HF) unit understaffing; unsystematic and unfriendly supervision by CHMT members; limited opportunities for HW career development; and poor (HF) infrastructure and staff houses. Data also suggest that poor working conditions negatively affect health workers' motivation to perform for ANC (including IPTp) services. Similarities and differences were noted in terms of motivational factors for ANC service delivery between the HWs employed in private HFs and those in public HFs: those in private facilities were more comfortable with staff residential houses, HF buildings, equipment, availability of water, electricity and cups for clients to use while taking doses under direct observed therapy than their public facility counterparts. Employees in public HFs more acknowledged availability of clinical officers, nurses and midwives than their private facility counterparts. More results are presented and discussed.
The study shows conditions related to staffing levels, health infrastructure and essential supplies being among the key determinants or drivers of frontline HWs' motivation to deliver ANC services in both private and public HFs. Efforts of the government to meet the maternal health related Millennium Development Goals and targets for specific interventions need to address challenges related to HWs' motivation to perform their duties at their work-places.
PMCID: PMC3298537  PMID: 22340941
Human resources; Health worker motivation; Malaria; Health-care services; Malaria in pregnancy; Tanzania
14.  Comparative Performance of Private and Public Healthcare Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001244.
A systematic review conducted by Sanjay Basu and colleagues reevaluates the evidence relating to comparative performance of public versus private sector healthcare delivery in low- and middle-income countries.
Private sector healthcare delivery in low- and middle-income countries is sometimes argued to be more efficient, accountable, and sustainable than public sector delivery. Conversely, the public sector is often regarded as providing more equitable and evidence-based care. We performed a systematic review of research studies investigating the performance of private and public sector delivery in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods and Findings
Peer-reviewed studies including case studies, meta-analyses, reviews, and case-control analyses, as well as reports published by non-governmental organizations and international agencies, were systematically collected through large database searches, filtered through methodological inclusion criteria, and organized into six World Health Organization health system themes: accessibility and responsiveness; quality; outcomes; accountability, transparency, and regulation; fairness and equity; and efficiency. Of 1,178 potentially relevant unique citations, data were obtained from 102 articles describing studies conducted in low- and middle-income countries. Comparative cohort and cross-sectional studies suggested that providers in the private sector more frequently violated medical standards of practice and had poorer patient outcomes, but had greater reported timeliness and hospitality to patients. Reported efficiency tended to be lower in the private than in the public sector, resulting in part from perverse incentives for unnecessary testing and treatment. Public sector services experienced more limited availability of equipment, medications, and trained healthcare workers. When the definition of “private sector” included unlicensed and uncertified providers such as drug shop owners, most patients appeared to access care in the private sector; however, when unlicensed healthcare providers were excluded from the analysis, the majority of people accessed public sector care. “Competitive dynamics” for funding appeared between the two sectors, such that public funds and personnel were redirected to private sector development, followed by reductions in public sector service budgets and staff.
Studies evaluated in this systematic review do not support the claim that the private sector is usually more efficient, accountable, or medically effective than the public sector; however, the public sector appears frequently to lack timeliness and hospitality towards patients.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Health care can be provided through public and private providers. Public health care is usually provided by the government through national healthcare systems. Private health care can be provided through “for profit” hospitals and self-employed practitioners, and “not for profit” non-government providers, including faith-based organizations.
There is considerable ideological debate around whether low- and middle-income countries should strengthen public versus private healthcare services, but in reality, most low- and middle-income countries use both types of healthcare provision. Recently, as the global economic recession has put major constraints on government budgets—the major funding source for healthcare expenditures in most countries—disputes between the proponents of private and public systems have escalated, further fuelled by the recommendation of International Monetary Fund (an international finance institution) that countries increase the scope of private sector provision in health care as part of loan conditions to reduce government debt. However, critics of the private health sector believe that public healthcare provision is of most benefit to poor people and is the only way to achieve universal and equitable access to health care.
Why Was This Study Done?
Both sides of the public versus private healthcare debate draw on selected case reports to defend their viewpoints, but there is a widely held view that the private health system is more efficient than the public health system. Therefore, in order to inform policy, there is an urgent need for robust evidence to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the health care provided through both systems. In this study, the authors reviewed all of the evidence in a systematic way to evaluate available data on public and private sector performance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used eight databases and a comprehensive key word search to identify and review appropriate published data and studies of private and public sector performance in low- and middle-income countries. They assessed selected studies against the World Health Organization's six essential themes of health systems—accessibility and responsiveness; quality; outcomes; accountability, transparency, and regulation; fairness and equity; and efficiency—and conducted a narrative review of each theme.
Out of the 102 relevant studies included in their comparative analysis, 59 studies were research studies and 13 involved meta-analysis, with the rest involving case reports or reviews. The researchers found that study findings varied considerably across countries studied (one-third of studies were conducted in Africa and a third in Southeast Asia) and by the methods used.
Financial barriers to care (such as user fees) were reported for both public and private systems. Although studies report that patients in the private sector experience better timeliness and hospitality, studies suggest that providers in the private sector more frequently violate accepted medical standards and have lower reported efficiency.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This systematic review did not support previous views that private sector delivery of health care in low- and middle-income settings is more efficient, accountable, or effective than public sector delivery. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses, but importantly, in both sectors, there were financial barriers to care, and each had poor accountability and transparency. This systematic review highlights a limited and poor-quality evidence base regarding the comparative performance of the two systems.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
A previous PLoS Medicine study examined the outpatient care provided by the public and private sector in low-income countries
The WHO website provides more information on healthcare systems
The World Bank website provides information on health system financing
Oxfam provides an argument against increased private health care in poor countries
PMCID: PMC3378609  PMID: 22723748
15.  Health service providers in Somalia: their readiness to provide malaria case-management 
Malaria Journal  2009;8:100.
Studies have highlighted the inadequacies of the public health sector in sub-Saharan African countries in providing appropriate malaria case management. The readiness of the public health sector to provide malaria case-management in Somalia, a country where there has been no functioning central government for almost two decades, was investigated.
Three districts were purposively sampled in each of the two self-declared states of Puntland and Somaliland and the south-central region of Somalia, in April-November 2007. A survey and mapping of all public and private health service providers was undertaken. Information was recorded on services provided, types of anti-malarial drugs used and stock, numbers and qualifications of staff, sources of financial support and presence of malaria diagnostic services, new treatment guidelines and job aides for malaria case-management. All settlements were mapped and a semi-quantitative approach was used to estimate their population size. Distances from settlements to public health services were computed.
There were 45 public health facilities, 227 public health professionals, and 194 private pharmacies for approximately 0.6 million people in the three districts. The median distance to public health facilities was 6 km. 62.3% of public health facilities prescribed the nationally recommended anti-malarial drug and 37.7% prescribed chloroquine as first-line therapy. 66.7% of public facilities did not have in stock the recommended first-line malaria therapy. Diagnosis of malaria using rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) or microscopy was performed routinely in over 90% of the recommended public facilities but only 50% of these had RDT in stock at the time of survey. National treatment guidelines were available in 31.3% of public health facilities recommended by the national strategy. Only 8.8% of the private pharmacies prescribed artesunate plus sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine, while 53.1% prescribed chloroquine as first-line therapy. 31.4% of private pharmacies also provided malaria diagnosis using RDT or microscopy.
Geographic access to public health sector is relatively low and there were major shortages of appropriate guidelines, anti-malarials and diagnostic tests required for appropriate malaria case management. Efforts to strengthen the readiness of the health sector in Somalia to provide malaria case management should improve availability of drugs and diagnostic kits; provide appropriate information and training; and engage and regulate the private sector to scale up malaria control.
PMCID: PMC2688519  PMID: 19439097
16.  Why do health workers in rural Tanzania prefer public sector employment? 
Severe shortages of qualified health workers and geographical imbalances in the workforce in many low-income countries require the national health sector management to closely monitor and address issues related to the distribution of health workers across various types of health facilities. This article discusses health workers' preferences for workplace and their perceptions and experiences of the differences in working conditions in the public health sector versus the church-run health facilities in Tanzania. The broader aim is to generate knowledge that can add to debates on health sector management in low-income contexts.
The study has a qualitative study design to elicit in-depth information on health workers' preferences for workplace. The data comprise ten focus group discussions (FGDs) and 29 in-depth interviews (IDIs) with auxiliary staff, nursing staff, clinicians and administrators in the public health sector and in a large church-run hospital in a rural district in Tanzania. The study has an ethnographic backdrop based on earlier long-term fieldwork in Tanzania.
The study found a clear preference for public sector employment. This was associated with health worker rights and access to various benefits offered to health workers in government service, particularly the favourable pension schemes providing economic security in old age. Health workers acknowledged that church-run hospitals generally were better equipped and provided better quality patient care, but these concerns tended to be outweighed by the financial assets of public sector employment. In addition to the sector specific differences, family concerns emerged as important in decisions on workplace.
The preference for public sector employment among health workers shown in this study seems to be associated primarily with the favourable pension scheme. The overall shortage of health workers and the distribution between health facilities is a challenge in a resource constrained health system where church-run health facilities are vital in the provision of health care in rural areas and where patients tend to prefer these services. In order to ensure equity in distribution of qualified health workers in Tanzania, a national regulation and legislation of the pension schemes is required.
PMCID: PMC3364903  PMID: 22480347
Pension benefits; Working conditions; Human resources; Rural health services; Tanzania
17.  High rates of adherence and treatment success in a public and public-private HIV clinic in India: potential benefits of standardized national care delivery systems 
The massive scale-up of antiretroviral treatment (ART) access worldwide has brought tremendous benefit to populations affected by HIV/AIDS. Optimising HIV care in countries with diverse medical systems is critical; however data on best practices for HIV healthcare delivery in resource-constrained settings are limited. This study aimed to understand patient characteristics and treatment outcomes from different HIV healthcare settings in Bangalore, India.
Participants from public, private and public-private HIV healthcare settings were recruited between 2007 and 2009 and were administered structured interviews by trained staff. Self-reported adherence was measured using the visual analogue scale to capture adherence over the past month, and a history of treatment interruptions (defined as having missed medications for more than 48 hours in the past three months). In addition, CD4 count and viral load (VL) were measured; genotyping for drug resistance-associated mutations was performed on those who were in virological failure (VL > 1000 copies/ml).
A total of 471 individuals were included in the analysis (263 from the public facility, 149 from the public-private facility and 59 from the private center). Private facility patients were more likely to be male, with higher education levels and incomes. More participants reported ≥ 95% adherence among public and public-private groups compared to private participants (public 97%; private 88%; public-private 93%, p < 0.05). Treatment interruptions were lowest among public participants (1%, 10%, 5% respectively, p < 0.001). Although longer clinic waiting times were experienced by more public participants (48%, compared to private 27%, public-private 19%, p < 0.001), adherence barriers were highest among private (31%) compared with public (10%) and public-private (17%, p < 0.001) participants. Viral load was detectable in 13% public, 22% private and 9% public-private participants (p < 0.05) suggesting fewer treatment failures among public and public-private settings. Drug resistance mutations were found more frequently among private facility patients (20%) compared to those from the public (9%) or public-private facility (8%, p < 0.05).
Adherence and treatment success was significantly higher among patients from public and public-private settings compared with patients from private facilities. These results suggest a possible benefit of the standardized care delivery system established in public and public-private health facilities where counselling by a multi-disciplinary team of workers is integral to provision of ART. Strengthening and increasing public-private partnerships can enhance the success of national ART programs.
PMCID: PMC3204232  PMID: 22004573
18.  Availability and Distribution of Emergency Obstetric Care Services in Karnataka State, South India: Access and Equity Considerations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64126.
As part of efforts to reduce maternal deaths in Karnataka state, India, there has been a concerted effort to increase institutional deliveries. However, little is known about the quality of care in these healthcare facilities. We investigated the availability and distribution of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) services in eight northern districts of Karnataka state in south India.
Methods & Findings
We undertook a cross-sectional study of 444 government and 422 private health facilities, functional 24-hours-a-day 7-days-a-week. EmOC availability and distribution were evaluated for 8 districts and 42 taluks (sub-districts) during the year 2010, based on a combination of self-reporting, record review and direct observation. Overall, the availability of EmOC services at the sub-state level [EmOC = 5.9/500,000; comprehensive EmOC (CEmOC) = 4.5/500,000 and basic EmOC (BEmOC) = 1.4/500,000] was seen to meet the benchmark. These services however were largely located in the private sector (90% of CEmOC and 70% of BemOC facilities). Thirty six percent of private facilities and six percent of government facilities were EmOC centres. Although half of eight districts had a sufficient number of EmOC facilities and all eight districts had a sufficient number of CEmOC facilities, only two-fifths of the 42 taluks had a sufficient number of EmOC facilities. With the private facilities being largely located in select towns only, the ‘non-headquarter’ taluks and ‘backward’ taluks suffered from a marked lack of coverage of these services. Spatial mapping further helped identify the clustering of a large number of contiguous taluks without adequate government EmOC facilities in northeastern Karnataka.
In conclusion, disaggregating information on emergency obstetric care service availability at district and subdistrict levels is critical for health policy and planning in the Indian setting. Reducing maternal deaths will require greater attention by the government in addressing inequities in the distribution of emergency obstetric care services.
PMCID: PMC3661461  PMID: 23717547
19.  Public funding of health at the district level in Indonesia after decentralization – sources, flows and contradictions 
During the Suharto era public funding of health in Indonesia was low and the health services were tightly controlled by the central government; district health staff had practically no discretion over expenditure. Following the downfall of President Suharto there was a radical political, administrative and fiscal decentralization with delivery of services becoming the responsibility of district governments. In addition, public funding for health services more than doubled between 2001 and 2006. It was widely expected that services would improve as district governments now had both more adequate funds and the responsibility for services. To date there has been little improvement in services. Understanding why services have not improved requires careful study of what is happening at the district level.
We collected information on public expenditure on health services for the fiscal year 2006 in 15 districts in Java, Indonesia from the district health offices and district hospitals. Data obtained in the districts were collected by three teams, one for each province. Information on district government revenues were obtained from district public expenditure databases maintained by the World Bank using data from the Ministry of Finance.
The public expenditure information collected in 15 districts as part of this study indicates district governments are reliant on the central government for as much as 90% of their revenue; that approximately half public expenditure on health is at the district level; that at least 40% of district level public expenditure on health is for personnel, almost all of them permanent civil servants; and that districts may have discretion over less than one-third of district public expenditure on health; the extent of discretion over spending is much higher in district hospitals than in the district health office and health centers. There is considerable variation between districts.
In contrast to the promise of decentralization there has been little increase in the potential for discretion at the district level in managing public funds for health – this is likely to be an important reason for the lack of improvement in publicly funded health services. Key decisions about money are still made by the central government, and no one is held accountable for the performance of the sector – the district blames the center and the central ministries (and their ministers) are not accountable to district populations.
PMCID: PMC2678112  PMID: 19371410
20.  Informed push distribution of contraceptives in Senegal reduces stockouts and improves quality of family planning services 
Dedicated logisticians restocked contraceptives monthly at facilities to maintain defined minimum stock levels, freeing up clinic staff. High stockout rates were virtually eliminated. Also, quality and timely data on contraceptives distributed allowed for better program management.
Dedicated logisticians restocked contraceptives monthly at facilities to maintain defined minimum stock levels, freeing up clinic staff. High stockout rates were virtually eliminated. Also, quality and timely data on contraceptives distributed allowed for better program management.
Contraceptive use in Senegal is among the lowest in the world and has barely increased over the past 5 years, from 10% of married women in 2005 to 12% in 2011. Contraceptive stockouts in public facilities, where 85% of women access family planning services, are common. In 2011, we conducted a supply chain study of 33 public-sector facilities in Pikine and Guediawaye districts of the Dakar region to understand the magnitude and root causes of stockouts. The study included stock audits, surveys with 156 consumers, and interviews with facility staff, managers, and other stakeholders. At the facility level, stockouts of injectables and implants occurred, on average, 43% and 83% of the year, respectively. At least 60% of stockouts occurred despite stock availability at the national level. Data from interviews revealed that the current “pull-based” distribution system was complex and inefficient. In order to reduce stockout rates to the commercial-sector standard of 2% or less, the Government of Senegal and the Senegal Urban Reproductive Health Initiative developed the informed push distribution model (IPM) and pilot-tested it in Pikine district between February 2012 and July 2012. IPM brings the source of supply (a delivery truck loaded with supplies) closer to the source of demand (clients in health facilities) and streamlines the steps in between. With a professional logistician managing stock and deliveries, the health facilities no longer need to place and pick up orders. Stockouts of contraceptive pills, injectables, implants, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) were completely eliminated at the 14 public health facilities in Pikine over the 6-month pilot phase. The government expanded IPM to all 140 public facilities in the Dakar region, and 6 months later stockout rates throughout the region dropped to less than 2%. National coverage of the IPM is expected by July 2015.
PMCID: PMC4168620  PMID: 25276582
21.  Existence and functionality of emergency obstetric care services at district level in Kenya: theoretical coverage versus reality 
The knowledge on emergency obstetric care (EmOC) is limited in Kenya, where only partial data from sub-national studies exist. The EmOC process indicators have also not been integrated into routine health management information system to monitor progress in safe motherhood interventions both at national and lower levels of the health system. In a country with a high maternal mortality burden, the implication is that decision makers are unaware of the extent of need for life-saving care and, therefore, where to intervene. The objective of the study was to assess the actual existence and functionality of EmOC services at district level.
This was a facility-based cross-sectional study. Data were collected from 40 health facilities offering delivery services in Malindi District, Kenya. Data presented are part of the “Response to accountable priority setting for trust in health systems” (REACT) study, in which EmOC was one of the service areas selected to assess fairness and legitimacy of priority setting in health care. The main outcome measures in this study were the number of facilities providing EmOC, their geographical distribution, and caesarean section rates in relation to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.
Among the 40 facilities assessed, 29 were government owned, seven were private and four were voluntary organisations. The ratio of EmOC facilities to population size was met (6.2/500,000), compared to the recommended 5/500,000. However, using the strict WHO definition, none of the facilities met the EmOC requirements, since assisted delivery, by vacuum or forceps was not provided in any facility. Rural–urban inequities in geographical distribution of facilities were observed. The facilities were not providing sufficient life-saving care as measured by caesarean section rates, which were below recommended levels (3.7% in 2008 and 4.5% in 2009). The rates were lower in the rural than in urban areas (2.1% vs. 6.8%; p < 0.001 ) in 2008 and (2.7% vs. 7.7%; p < 0.001) in 2009.
The gaps in existence and functionality of EmOC services revealed in this study may point to the health system conditions contributing to lack of improvements in maternal survival in Kenya. As such, the findings bear considerable implications for policy and local priority setting.
PMCID: PMC3616893  PMID: 23522087
Kenya; Maternal health; Emergency obstetric care; Life-saving
22.  Human resources for emergency obstetric care in northern Tanzania: distribution of quantity or quality? 
Health care agencies report that the major limiting factor for implementing effective health policies and reforms worldwide is a lack of qualified human resources. Although many agencies have adopted policy development and clinical practice guidelines, the human resources necessary to carry out these policies towards actual reform are not yet in place.
The goal of this article is to evaluate the current status of human resources quality, availability and distribution in Northern Tanzania in order to provide emergency obstetric care services to specific districts in this area. The article also discusses the usefulness of distribution indicators for describing equity in the decision-making process.
We conducted a quantitative facility survey in six districts of Northern Tanzania. We collected data from all 129 facilities that provide delivery services in the study area. The data includes information on the emergency obstetric care indicators, as described by the WHO/UNICEF/UFPA guidelines for monitoring the provision of obstetric care. The inventory also includes information on the numbers of qualified health personnel at the basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care level. We analysed the distribution and workload of the available human resources in a wider policy context with a particular focus on equity, use and quality, by means of descriptive statistics and the Spearman's correlation test.
We determined that there are adequate human resources allocated for health care provision in Tanzania, according to national standards. Compared to similar countries however, Tanzania has a very low availability of health care staff. Most qualified staff are concentrated in a few centralized locations, while those remaining are inequitably and inefficiently distributed in rural areas and lower-level services. Rural districts have restricted access to government-run health care, because these facilities are understaffed. In fact, voluntary agency facilities in these districts have more staff than the government facilities. There is a statistical correlation between availability of qualified human resources and use of services, but the availability of qualified human resources does not automatically translate into higher availability of qualified emergency obstetric care services.
National guidelines for human resources for health care in Tanzania require focused revisions in order to reflect the quality indicators more adequately when monitoring and setting criteria for HR distribution. Availability of qualified personnel as well as institutional management and capacity determine the quality of emergency obstetric care services and personnel. The current wide distribution of staff of inadequate quality should be reconsidered. The use of distribution indicators alone is not useful to properly monitor equity. This article suggests increasing access to high-quality health care instead of distributing low-quality services widely.
PMCID: PMC1199615  PMID: 16053519
23.  Health system performance at the district level in Indonesia after decentralization 
Assessments over the last two decades have showed an overall low level of performance of the health system in Indonesia with wide variation between districts. The reasons advanced for these low levels of performance include the low level of public funding for health and the lack of discretion for health system managers at the district level. When, in 2001, Indonesia implemented a radical decentralization and significantly increased the central transfer of funds to district governments it was widely expected that the performance of the health system would improve. This paper assesses the extent to which the performance of the health system has improved since decentralization.
We measured a set of indicators relevant to assessing changes in performance of the health system between two surveys in three areas: utilization of maternal antenatal and delivery care; immunization coverage; and contraceptive source and use. We also measured respondents' demographic characteristics and their living circumstances. These measurements were made in population-based surveys in 10 districts in 2002-03 and repeated in 2007 in the same 10 districts using the same instruments and sampling methods.
The dominant providers of maternal and child health in these 10 districts are in the private sector. There was a significant decrease in birth deliveries at home, and a corresponding increase in deliveries in health facilities in 5 of the 10 districts, largely due to increased use of private facilities with little change in the already low use of public facilities. Overall, there was no improvement in vaccination of mothers and their children. Of those using modern contraceptive methods, the majority obtained them from the private sector in all districts.
There has been little improvement in the performance of the health system since decentralization occurred in 2001 even though there have also been significant increases in public funding for health. In fact, the decentralization has been limited in extent and structural problems make management of the system as a whole difficult. At the national level there has been no real attempt to envision the health system that Indonesia will need for the next 20 to 30 years or how the substantial public subsidy to this lightly regulated private system could be used in creative ways to stimulate innovation, mitigate market failures, improve equity and quality, and to enhance the performance of the system as a whole.
PMCID: PMC2839983  PMID: 20205724
24.  From project aid to sustainable HIV services: a case study from Zambia 
Sustainable service delivery is a major challenge in the HIV response that is often not adequately addressed in project implementation. Sustainable strategies must be built into project design and implementation to enable HIV efforts to continue long after donor-supported projects are completed.
Case description
This paper presents the experiences in operational sustainability of Family Health International's Zambia Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership in Zambia, which is supported by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through United States Agency for International Development (October 2004 to September 2009). The partnership worked with Zambia's Ministry of Health to scale up HIV clinical services in five of the country's nine provinces, reaching 35 districts and 219 facilities. It provided technical and financial support from within the ministry's systems and structures. By completion of the project, 10 of the 35 districts had graduated beyond receiving ongoing technical support.
Discussion and evaluation
By working within the ministry's policies, structures and systems, the partnership was able to increase the ministry's capacity to add a comprehensive HIV service delivery component to its health services. Ministry structures were improved through renovations of health facilities, training of healthcare workers, procurement of essential equipment, and establishment of a quality assurance plan to ensure continued quality of care. The quality assurance tools were implemented by both the ministry and project staff as the foundation for technical graduation. Facilities that met all the quality criteria for more than six months were graduated from project technical support, as were districts where most supported facilities met the criteria. The district health offices then provided ongoing supervision of services. This predetermined "graduation" exit strategy, with buy in of the provincial and district health offices, set the stage for continued delivery of high-quality HIV services.
Achieving operational sustainability in a resource-limited setting is feasible. Developing and institutionalizing a quality assurance/quality improvement system is the basis on which facilities and districts can move beyond project support and, therefore, sustain services. Quality assurance/quality improvement tools should be based on national standards, and project implementation should use and improve existing health system structures.
PMCID: PMC2890667  PMID: 20529255
25.  Contracting in specialists for emergency obstetric care- does it work in rural India? 
Contracting in private sector is promoted in developing countries facing human resources shortages as a challenge to reduce maternal mortality. This study explored provision, practice, performance, barriers to execution and views about contracting in specialists for emergency obstetric care (EmOC) in rural India.
Facility survey was conducted in all secondary and tertiary public health facilities (44) in three heterogeneous districts in Maharashtra state of India. Interviews (42) were conducted with programme managers and district and block level officials and with public and private EmOC specialists. Locations of private obstetricians in the study districts were identified and mapped.
Two schemes, namely Janani Suraksha Yojana and Indian Public Health standards (IPHS) provided for contracting in EmOC specialists. The IPHS provision was chosen for use mainly due to greater sum for contracting in (US $ 30/service episode vs.300 US$/month). The positions of EmOC specialists were vacant in 83% of all facilities that hence had a potential for contracting in EmOC specialists. Private specialists were contracted in at 20% such facilities. The contracting in of specialists did not greatly increase EmOC service outputs at facilities, except in facilities with determined leadership. Contracting in specialists was useful for non emergency conditions, but not for obstetric emergencies. The contracts were more of a relational nature with poor monitoring structures. Inadequate infrastructure, longer distance to private specialists, insufficient financial provision for contracting in, and poor management capacities were barriers to effective implementation of contracting in. Dependency on the private sector was a concern among public partners while the private partners viewed contracting in as an opportunity to gain experience and credibility.
Density and geographic distribution of private specialists are important influencing factors in determining feasibility and use of contracting in for EmOC. Local circumstances dictate balance between introduction or expansion of contracts with private sector and strengthening public provisions and that neither of these disregard the need to strengthen public systems. Sustainability of contracting in arrangements, their effect on increasing coverage of EmOC services in rural areas and overlapping provisions for contracting in EmOC specialists are issues for future consideration.
PMCID: PMC3572412  PMID: 23276148
Contracting in; Public private partnership; Emergency obstetric care; India; Janani Suraksha Yojana

Results 1-25 (873022)