To make a plan evaluation of projects being part of major mental health care reform process in Belgium. It emphasizes on the logic, underlying considerations and choices for network configurations developed to provide adequate mental health care.
In 2011 a large-scale reform process in mental health care was launched in Belgium. The reform aims at deinstitutionalization and integration of care. Within the constraints of a general policy programme, the sector was allowed to configure, in a bottom-up manner, interorganisational networks within a chosen geographical area. In a first stage we analyze the plans and underlying meaning given by the projects to this government programme, as part of a longer term prospective programme evaluation of interorganisational networks in mental health care.
Literature on inter-organizational networks, content analysis of project-proposals and in-depth interviews.
Results and conclusions
The proposed network configurations differ widely in type, size, heterogeneity and complexity. Many projects build their network model strongly upon previous informal collaborations and reproduce informal partnerships within a new government framework.
A policy approach offering a framework with which the providers can construct their proper intra-organisational network logic, leads to a wide variety of interorganisational network configurations and collaboration models. These networks can be sufficiently adapted to the local contexts, but further research will be needed to assess their effectiveness and efficiency for providing integrated care.
integrated care; mental health care; interorganisational networks; network complexity
The Zanzibar Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, concerned about mental health in the country, requested technical assistance from WHO in 1997.
This article describes the facilitation over many years by a WHO Collaborating Centre, of sustainable mental health developments in Zanzibar, one of the poorest countries in the world, using systematic approaches to policy design and implementation.
Based on intensive prior situation appraisal and consultation, a multi-faceted set of interventions combining situation appraisal to inform planning; sustained policy dialogue at Union and state levels; development of policy and legislation, development of strategic action plans, establishment of intersectoral national mental health implementation committee, establishment of national mental health coordination system, integration of mental health into primary care, strengthening of primary-secondary care liaison, rationalisation and strengthening of secondary care system, ensuring adequate supply of medicines, use of good practice guidelines and health information systems, development of services for people with intellectual disability, establishment of formal mechanism for close liaison between the mental health services and other governmental, non-governmental and traditional sectors, mental health promotion, suicide prevention, and research and development.
The policy and legislation introduced in 1999 have resulted in enhanced mental health activities over the ensuing decade, within a setting of extreme low resource. However, advances ebb and flow and continued efforts are required to maintain progress and continue mental health developments. Lessons learnt have informed the development of mental health policies in neighbouring countries.
A multi-faceted and comprehensive programme can be effective in achieving considerable strengthening of mental health programmes and services even in extremely low resource settings, but requires sustained input and advocacy if gains are to be maintained and enhanced.
In Finland, dental services are provided by a public (PDS) and a private sector. In the past, children, young adults and special needs groups were entitled to care and treatment from the public dental services (PDS). A major reform in 2001 – 2002 opened the PDS and extended subsidies for private dental services to all adults. It aimed to increase equity by improving adults' access to oral health care and reducing cost barriers. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the reform on the utilization of publicly funded and private dental services, numbers and distribution of personnel and costs in 2000 and in 2004, before and after the oral health care reform. An evaluation was made of how the health political goals of the reform: integrating oral health care into general health care, improving adults' access to care and lowering cost barriers had been fulfilled during the study period.
National registers were used as data sources for the study. Use of dental services, personnel resources and costs in 2000 (before the reform) and in 2004 (after the reform) were compared.
In 2000, when access to publicly subsidised dental services was restricted to those born in 1956 or later, every third adult used the PDS or subsidised private services. By 2004, when subsidies had been extended to the whole adult population, this increased to almost every second adult. The PDS reported having seen 118 076 more adult patients in 2004 than in 2000. The private sector had the same number of patients but 542 656 of them had not previously been entitled to partial reimbursement of fees.
The use of both public and subsidised private services increased most in big cities and urban municipalities where access to the PDS had been poor and the number of private practitioners was high. The PDS employed more dentists (6.5%) and the number of private practitioners fell by 6.9%. The total dental care expenditure (PDS plus private) increased by 21% during the study period. Private patients who had previously not been entitled to reimbursements seemed to gain most from the reform.
The results of this study indicate that implementation of a substantial reform, that changes the traditionally defined tasks of the public and private sectors in an established oral health care provision system, proceeds slowly, is expensive and probably requires more stringent steering than was the case in Finland 2001 – 2004. However, the equity and fairness of the oral health care provision system improved and access to services and cost-sharing improved slightly.
Introduction Mental disorders occur as frequently in Russia as elsewhere, but the common mental disorders, especially depression, have gone largely unrecognised and undiagnosed by policlinic staff and area doctors.
Methods This paper describes the impact and sustainability of a multi-component programme to facilitate the integration of mental health into primary care, by situation appraisal, policy dialogue, development of educational materials, provision of a training programme and the publication of standards and good practice guidelines to improve the primary care of mental disorders in the Sverdlovsk region of the Russian Federation.
Results The multi-component programme has resulted in sustainable training about common mental disorders, not only of family doctors but also of other cadres and levels of professionals, and it has been well integrated with Sverdlovsk's overall programme of health sector reforms.
Conclusion It is possible to facilitate the sustainable integration of mental health into primary care within the Russian context. While careful adaptation will be needed, the approach adopted here may also hold useful lessons for policy makers seeking to integrate mental health within primary care in other contexts and settings.
depression; primary care; Russian Federation; training
Over the last three decades significant efforts have been made in many European countries to move away from a mental health system dominated by institutional care towards one whereby the main emphasis is on providing care and support within the community. Although the time of starting the reforms, their pace, the political context, and the exact objectives varies substantially across Europe, practically all countries have been undergoing such major reforms aimed at establishing services in the community to replace institutional based care. Each country makes its own decisions about the necessary mental health services taking into account a range of factors including population needs, level of resources, flexibility and coordination of organizational structures, as well as local culture. These factors become an integral element of a national mental health policy and action plan, closely linked with national public health strategies.
Greece has been modernizing an outdated mental health system, which was based on institutional care, over the last 20 years, by developing community-based mental health care. This article describes the methodology used for the evaluation of the Psychargos programme of the mental health reforms in Greece. Various forms of community-based mental health services have been developed including supported living facilities, community mental health centres and employment opportunities.
Evaluation; Mental health reforms; Community mental health services; Greece
Uganda implemented health sector reforms to make services more accessible to the population. An assessment of the likely impact of these reforms is important for informing policy. This paper describes the changes in utilization of health services that occurred among the poor and those in rural areas between 2002/3 and 2005/6 and associated factors.
Secondary data analysis was done using the socio-economic component of the Uganda National Household Surveys 2002/03 and 2005/06. The poor were identified from wealth quintiles constructed using an asset based index derived from Principal Components Analysis (PCA). The probability of choice of health care provider was assessed using multinomial logistic regression and multi-level statistical models.
The odds of not seeking care in 2005/6 were 1.79 times higher than in 2002/3 (OR = 1.79; 95% CI 1.65 - 1.94). The rural population experienced a 43% reduction in the risk of not seeking care because of poor geographical access (OR = 0.57; 95% CI 0.48 - 0.67). The risk of not seeking care due to high costs did not change significantly. Private for profit providers (PFP) were the major providers of services in 2002/3 and 2005/6. Using PFP as base category, respondents were more likely to have used private not for profit (PNFP) in 2005/6 than in 2002/3 (OR = 2.15; 95% CI 1.58 - 2.92), and also more likely to use public facilities in 2005/6 than 2002/3 (OR = 1.31; 95% CI 1.15 - 1.48). The most poor, females, rural residents, and those from elderly headed households were more likely to use public facilities relative to PFP.
Although overall utilization of public and PNFP services by rural and poor populations had increased, PFP remained the major source of care. The odds of not seeking care due to distance decreased in rural areas but cost continued to be an important barrier to seeking health services for residents from poor, rural, and elderly headed households. Policy makers should consider targeting subsidies to the poor and rural populations. Public private partnerships should be broadened to increase access to health services among the vulnerable.
In the last decade (2001–2010) the Ministry of Health implemented two major inter-related reforms: a ’structural reform’ to reduce the number of psychiatric beds and the ’Rehabilitation of the Mentally Disabled in the Community Law’, which allocated funds for a variety of residential and vocational programs in the community for these patients. The objective of the present paper was to examine the impact of the two reforms on the hospitalization of schizophrenic and affective disorder patients by tracking the patterns of their inpatient care during the last decade.
Data on all psychiatric admissions during the period 1990–2011 were extracted from the Israel Psychiatric Case Register to examine changes in the rate of admissions, length of hospitalizations, total inpatient days and tenure in the community. The analysis was done separately for first-in-life vs. all admissions and for patients with schizophrenia vs. patients with affective disorders.
From 2006 onward, with no decrease in the number the beds, the number of inpatient days for first-in-life patients with schizophrenia decreased by 29%, their admission rates dropped by 22%, the proportion of short [< 30 days] first in life episodes went up, while the percentage of those whose first in life episode lasted more than one year went down from 2.5% to 0.5%. The parallel results for patients with affective disorders were much less significant.
An increasing percentage of patients with schizophrenia are not admitted to psychiatric wards at all and an increasing percentage of those who are admitted are treated during a shorter episode. The change is probably due to the rehabilitation reform which enabled the structural reform (the reduction in beds) to be implemented effectively.
Psychiatric hospitalization; Length of stay; Psychiatric reforms
In Vietnam, the health-sector reforms since 1989 have lead to a rapid increase in out-of-pocket expenses. This paper examines the choice of medical provider and household healthcare expenditure for different providers in a rural district of Vietnam following healthcare reform.
The study consisted of twelve monthly follow-up interviews of 621 randomly selected households. The households are part of the FilaBavi project sample – Health System Research Project. The heads of household were interviewed at monthly intervals from July 2001 to June 2002.
The use of private health providers and self-treatment are quite common for both episodes (60% and 23% of all illness episodes) and expenditure (60% and 12.8% of healthcare expenditure) The poor tend to use self-treatment more frequently than wealthier members of the community (31% vs. 14.5% of illness episodes respectively). All patients in this study often use private services before public ones. The poor use less public care and less care at higher levels than the rich do (8% vs.13% of total illness episodes, which decomposes into 3% vs. 7% at district level, and 1% vs. 3% at the provincial or central level, respectively). The education of the patients significantly affects healthcare decisions. Those with higher education tend to choose healthcare providers rather than self-treatment. Women tend to use drugs or healthcare services more often than men do. Patients in two highest quintiles use health services more than in the lowest quintile. Moreover, seriously ill patients frequently use more drugs, healthcare services, public care than those with less severe illness.
The results are useful for policy makers and healthcare professionals to (i) formulate healthcare policies-of foremost importance are methods used to reduce self-treatment and no treatment; (ii) the management of private practices and maintaining public healthcare providers at all levels, particularly at the basic levels (district, commune) where the poor more easily can access healthcare services, is also important, as is the management of private practices and (iii) provide a background for further studies on both short and long-term health service strategies.
In 2002, the Egypt Ministry of Health and Population faced the challenge of improving access to and quality of services in rural Upper Egypt in the face of low morale among health workers and managers.
From 1992 to 2000, the Ministry, with donor support, had succeeded in reducing the nationwide maternal mortality rate by 52%. Nevertheless, a gap remained between urban and rural areas.
In 2002, the Ministry, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development and assistance from Management Sciences for Health, introduced a Leadership Development Programme (LDP) in Aswan Governorate. The programme aimed to improve health services in three districts by increasing managers' ability to create high performing teams and lead them to achieve results.
The programme introduced leadership and management practices and a methodology for identifying and addressing service delivery challenges. Ten teams of health workers participated.
Discussion and evaluation
In 2003, after participation in the LDP, the districts of Aswan, Daraw and Kom Ombo increased the number of new family planning visits by 36%, 68% and 20%, respectively. The number of prenatal and postpartum visits also rose.
After the United States funding ended, local doctors and nurses scaled up the programme to 184 health care facilities (training more than 1000 health workers). From 2005 to 2007, the Leadership Development Programme participants in Aswan Governorate focused on reducing the maternal mortality rate as their annual goal. They reduced it from 85.0 per 100,000 live births to 35.5 per 100,000. The reduction in maternal mortality rate was much greater than in similar governorates in Egypt. Managers and teams across Aswan demonstrated their ability to scale up effective public health interventions though their increased commitment and ownership of service challenges.
When teams learn and apply empowering leadership and management practices, they can transform the way they work together and develop their own solutions to complex public health challenges. Committed health teams can use local resources to scale up effective public health interventions.
In the last decade the US federal government proposed a transformation vision of mental health service delivery; patient-centered, evidence-based and recovery oriented treatment models. Health care reform brings additional expectations for innovation in mental/substance use service delivery, particularly the idea of creating systems where physical health, mental health and substance use treatment is fully integrated. Psychiatric nurses, as one of the four core US mental health professions, have the potential to play a significant role in the both the transformation initiative and health care reform vision. However, psychiatric nurses, particularly advanced practice psychiatric nurses, are an untapped resource due in part to significant state regulatory barriers that limit their scope of practice in many states. The purpose of this paper is to document what is currently known about advanced practice psychiatric nurses and discuss policy implications for tapping into the strengths of this workforce. Strategies for facilitating utilization of advanced practice psychiatric nurses discussed.
advanced nursing practice; nursing/health care workforce issues; health care quality
OBJECTIVE—It is generally accepted that a wide range of factors determine the health of a population, many of which are beyond the remit of the Ministry of Health. The aim of intersectoral health policy is to influence these factors. Success depends on a multi-stage process. This paper aims to provide support for the first stage of this process in the form of a quick scan for appraising the feasibility of intersectoral health policy.
DESIGN—The content of the quick scan for intersectoral health policy was derived from a literature review. To determine the usefulness of this quick scan, the study looked at two examples in the policy sectors of education and safety.
MAIN RESULTS—The quick scan distinguishes between three factors: (1) the availability of evidence, (2) the degree of support, and (3) the availability of tools for implementation. The quick scan made it possible to review the two policy sectors systematically in a relatively short time and to obtain sufficient information for priority setting in intersectoral health policy. The examples in this paper suggest that intersectoral health policy for community safety is more feasible than intersectoral policy for psychosocial problems in secondary education. However, specific information is required for a more precise assessment of feasibility.
CONCLUSIONS—There are many ways of improving health through intersectoral health policy. The proposed quick scan may provide systematic support for setting priorities before developing policies of this kind.
Keywords: intersectoral health policy; priority setting
In Bangladesh, widespread dissatisfaction with government health services did not improve during the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP) reforms from 1998-2003. A 2003 national household survey documented public and health service users' views and experience. Attitudes and behaviour of health workers are central to quality of health services. To investigate whether the views of health workers influenced the reforms, we surveyed local health workers and held evidence-based discussions with local service managers and professional bodies.
Some 1866 government health workers in facilities serving the household survey clusters completed a questionnaire about their views, experience, and problems as workers. Field teams discussed the findings from the household and health workers' surveys with local health service managers in five upazilas (administrative sub-districts) and with the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and Bangladesh Nurses Association (BNA).
Nearly one half of the health workers (45%) reported difficulties fulfilling their duties, especially doctors, women, and younger workers. They cited inadequate supplies and infrastructure, bad behaviour of patients, and administrative problems. Many, especially doctors (74%), considered they were badly treated as employees. Nearly all said lack of medicines in government facilities was due to inadequate supply, not improved during the HPSP. Two thirds of doctors and nurses complained of bad behaviour of patients. A quarter of respondents thought quality of service had improved as a result of the HPSP.
Local service managers and the BMA and BNA accepted patients had negative views and experiences, blaming inadequate resources, high patient loads, and patients' unrealistic expectations. They said doctors and nurses were demotivated by poor working conditions, unfair treatment, and lack of career progression; private and unqualified practitioners sought to please patients instead of giving medically appropriate care. The BMA considered it would be dangerous to attempt to train and register unqualified practitioners.
The continuing dissatisfaction of health workers may have undermined the effectiveness of the HPSP. Presenting the views of the public and service users to health managers helped to focus discussions about quality of services. It is important to involve health workers in health services reforms.
The introduction of new policies in health and social services in Britain has changed the way community care is provided to seriously mentally ill people. Britain is creating the same problems that have existed in the United States, whereby clinicians struggle to provide services in an environment with multiple payers and perverse incentives. A simple system in Britain has been replaced with complicated organisational and financial structures that require almost impossible feats by local health and social service staff to coordinate care for patients for whom continuity of care is critical for their survival in the community and their wellbeing. Seriously mentally ill people are in the middle of these complicated problems. The creation of a local mental health authority that could be held responsible for community care, as exists in some American states, may be one solution.
The Ugandan government recognizes mental health as a serious public health and development concern, and has of recent implemented a number of reforms aimed at strengthening the country's mental health system. The aim of this study was to provide a profile of the current mental health policy, legislation and services in Uganda.
A survey was conducted of public sector mental health policy and legislation, and service resources and utilisation in Uganda, in the year 2005, using the World Health Organization's Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) Version 2.2.
Uganda's draft mental health policy encompasses many positive reforms, including decentralization and integration of mental health services into Primary Health Care (PHC). The mental health legislation is however outdated and offensive. Services are still significantly underfunded (with only 1% of the health expenditure going to mental health), and skewed towards urban areas. Per 100,000 population, there were 1.83 beds in mental hospitals, 1.4 beds in community based psychiatric inpatient units, and 0.42 beds in forensic facilities. The total personnel working in mental health facilities were 310 (1.13 per 100,000 population). Only 0.8% of the medical doctors and 4% of the nurses had specialized in psychiatry.
Although there have been important developments in Uganda's mental health policy and services, there remains a number of shortcomings, especially in terms of resources and service delivery. There is an urgent need for more research on the current burden of mental disorders and the functioning of mental health programs and services in Uganda.
Among the noncommunicable diseases, mental ill-health represents the major threat to social and economic progress because it impacts so powerfully on the most critical decades of life. Consequently, mental health reform is increasingly recognized as an urgent priority worldwide. This brings into sharp focus the role of evidence, and more specifically the Cochrane paradigm, in influencing decisions about health system reform. Cochrane clearly still has great value, especially in evidence-based medicine, where the focus is the evaluation of individual treatments. However, it cannot be allowed to be a dominant influence in evidence-based health care (EBHC) policy decisions for health system reform, unless it is modernized or complemented. Health services reform should definitely be as evidence-based as possible; however, the jury should consider its verdict on key reform proposals based on the balance of probabilities and informed by the best “available” evidence from all sources, not only randomized clinical trials, which in many domains may be never be feasible. This is particularly the case when reform is urgent, and the status quo has manifestly failed. So on the one hand, the evidence-based paradigm must not be misused to stifle or paralyze urgent reform. Alternatively, there is a real risk that, if we do not improve the sophistication of EBHC, the whole paradigm will be sidelined and reform will remain reactive, impulsive, and desultory. The recent Cochrane review on early intervention in psychosis provides an opportunity to consider these issues and their wider significance.
early intervention; evidence-based medicine; mental health; psychosis
In 2005, New Mexico began a comprehensive reform of state-funded mental health care. This paper reports on differences in characteristics, infrastructure, financial status, and available services across mental health agencies. We administered a telephone survey to senior leadership to assess agency status prior to and during the first year of reform. Non-profit/public agencies were more likely than others to report reductions or no changes in administrative staff. CMHCs were more likely to report a decline in their financial situation. Findings demonstrated that CMHCs, non-profit/public agencies and rural agencies were more likely to offer critical services to adults with serious mental illness in the first year of reform. The comprehensiveness of services offered by these types of agencies may be an advantage as the state moves to a core service agency approach.
Rural; mental health; staffing patterns; Medicaid reform
This paper discusses the increasing incidence of mental health problems in Pakistan, and specifically in the Swat Valley, in relation to the growing insurgency and current violence in Pakistani society. The paper argues that the health care system’s response in Pakistan is not adequate to meet the current challenges and that changes in policy are needed to build mental health care services as an important component of the basic health package at primary care level in the public sector.
This paper reviews the existing mental health situation in Pakistan with reference to the findings of a case study in the Swat Valley in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa Pakistan. The figures presented in the case study are used to support the need for an integrated national mental health policy.
Mental health care needs to be incorporated as a core service in primary care and supported by specialist services. There is a strong need to provide adequate training for general practitioners and postgraduate training for mental health professionals to meet the current demands. A collaborative network between stakeholders in the public and private sector, as well as non-governmental organisations are required that promotes mental health care and advocates for changes in mental health policy.
mental health; primary care; Pakistan; health policy; conflict; post-traumatic stress disorder
The Government of the Republic of Kenya is in the process of implementing health care reforms. However, poor knowledge about costs of health care services is perceived as a major obstacle towards evidence-based, effective and efficient health care reforms. Against this background, the Ministry of Health of Kenya in cooperation with its development partners conducted a comprehensive costing exercise and subsequently developed the Kenya Health Sector Costing Model in order to fill this data gap.
Based on standard methodology of costing of health care services in developing countries, standard questionnaires and analyses were employed in 207 health care facilities representing different trustees (e.g. Government, Faith Based/Nongovernmental, private-for-profit organisations), levels of care and regions (urban, rural). In addition, a total of 1369 patients were randomly selected and asked about their demand-sided costs. A standard step-down costing methodology was applied to calculate the costs per service unit and per diagnosis of the financial year 2006/2007.
The total costs of essential health care services in Kenya were calculated as 690 million Euros or 18.65 Euro per capita. 54% were incurred by public sector facilities, 17% by Faith Based and other Nongovernmental facilities and 23% in the private sector. Some 6% of the total cost is due to the overall administration provided directly by the Ministry and its decentralised organs. Around 37% of this cost is absorbed by salaries and 22% by drugs and medical supplies. Generally, costs of lower levels of care are lower than of higher levels, but health centres are an exemption. They have higher costs per service unit than district hospitals.
The results of this study signify that the costs of health care services are quite high compared with the Kenyan domestic product, but a major share are fixed costs so that an increasing coverage does not necessarily increase the health care costs proportionally. Instead, productivity will rise in particular in under-utilized private health care institutions. The results of this study also show that private-for-profit health care facilities are not only the luxurious providers catering exclusively for the rich but also play an important role in the service provision for the poorer population. The study findings also demonstrated a high degree of cost variability across private providers, suggesting differences in quality and efficiencies.
There is sustained interest in public health circles in assessing the effects of policies on health and health inequalities. We report on the theory, methods and findings of a project which involved an appraisal of current Scottish policy with respect to its potential impacts on mental health and wellbeing.
We developed a method of assessing the degree of alignment between Government policies and the 'evidence base', involving: reviewing theoretical frameworks; analysis of policy documents, and nineteen in-depth interviews with policymakers which explored influences on, and barriers to cross-cutting policymaking and the use of research evidence in decisionmaking.
Most policy documents did not refer to mental health; however most referred indirectly to the determinants of mental health and well-being. Unsurprisingly research evidence was rarely cited; this was more common in health policy documents. The interviews highlighted the barriers to intersectoral policy making, and pointed to the relative value of qualitative and quantitative research, as well as to the imbalance of evidence between "what is known" and "what is to be done".
Healthy public policy depends on effective intersectoral working between government departments, along with better use of research evidence to identify policy impacts. This study identified barriers to both these. We also demonstrated an approach to rapidly appraising the mental health effects of mainly non-health sector policies, drawing on theoretical understandings of mental health and its determinants, research evidence and policy documents. In the case of the social determinants of health, we conclude that an evidence-based approach to policymaking and to policy appraisal requires drawing strongly upon existing theoretical frameworks, as well as upon research evidence, but that there are significant practical barriers and disincentives.
Supported by development partners, the Government of Bangladesh carried out a comprehensive reform of health services in Bangladesh between 1998 and 2003, intended to make services more responsive to public needs: the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP). They commissioned a series of surveys of the public, as part of evaluation of the HPSP. This article uses the survey findings to examine the changes in public opinions, use and experience of health services in the period of the HPSP.
We carried out three household surveys (1999, 2000 and 2003) of a stratified random sample of 217 rural sites and 30 urban sites. Each site comprised 100–120 contiguous households. Each survey included interviews with 25,000 household respondents and managers of health facilities serving the sites, and gender-stratified focus groups in each site. We measured: household ratings of government health services; reported use of services in the preceding month; unmet need for health care; user reports of waiting times, payments, explanations of condition, availability of prescribed medicines, and satisfaction with service providers.
Public rating of government health services as "good" fell from 37% to 10% and the proportion using government treatment services fell from 13% to 10%. Unmet need increased from 3% to 9% of households. The proportion of visits to government facilities fell from 17% to 13%, while the proportion to unqualified practitioners rose from 52% to 60%. Satisfaction with service providers' behaviour dropped from 66% to 56%. Users were more satisfied when waiting time was shorter, prescribed medicines were available, and they received explanations of their condition.
Services have retracted despite increased investment and the public now prefer unqualified practitioners over government services. Public opinion of government health services has deteriorated and the reforms have not specifically helped the poorest people. User satisfaction could be increased if government doctors improved their interaction with patients and if waiting times were reduced by better management of facilities.
Despite the political and economic reforms that have swept Eastern Europe in the past 5 years, there has been little change in Poland's health care system. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has targeted preventive care as a priority, yet the enactment of legislation to meet this goal has been slow. The process of reform has been hindered by political stagnation, economic crisis, and a lack of delineation of responsibility for implementing the reforms. Despite the delays in reform, recent developments indicate that a realistic, sustainable restructuring of the health care system is possible, with a focus on preventive services. Recent proposals for change have centered on applying national goals to limited geographic areas, with both local and international support. Regional pilot projects to restructure health care delivery at a community level, local health education and disease prevention initiatives, and a national training program for primary care and family physicians and nurses are being planned. Through regionalization, an increase in responsibility for both the physician and the patient, and redefinition of primary health care and the role of family physicians, isolated local movements and pilot projects have shown promise in achieving these goals, even under the current budgetary constraints.
Mental health policy is needed to set the strategy and direction for the provision of mental health services in a country. Policy formulation does not occur in a vacuum, however, but is influenced by local and international factors in the health sector and other sectors.
This study was carried out in 1997 to examine the evolution of mental health policy in Kenya between 1965 and 1997 in the context of changing international concepts of health and development. Qualitative content analysis of policy documents was combined with interviews of key policy makers.
The study showed that during the period 1965-1997 the generic health policy in Kenya changed from one based on the Medical Model in the 1960s and 1970s to one based on the Primary Health Care Model in the late 1970s and the 1980s and finally to one based on the Market Model of health care in the 1990s. The mental health policy, on the other hand, evolved from one based on the Medical Model in the 1960s to one based on the Primary Health Care Model in the 1990s, but did not embrace the Market Model of health care. This resulted in a situation in the 1990s where the mental health policy was rooted in a different conceptual model from that of the generic health policy under which it was supposed to be implemented. This "Model Muddlement" may have impeded the implementation of the mental health policy in Kenya.
Integration of the national mental health policy with the general health policy and other sector policies would be appropriate and is now underway.
The medical component of workers' compensation programs-now costing over $24 billion annually-and the rest of the nation's medical care system are linked. They share the same patients and providers. They provide similar benefits and services. And they struggle over who should pay for what. Clearly, health care reform and restructuring will have a major impact on the operation and expenditures of the workers' compensation system. For a brief period, during the 1994 national health care reform debate, these two systems were part of the same federal policy development and legislative process. With comprehensive health care reform no longer on the horizon, states now are tackling both workers' compensation and medical system reforms on their own. This paper reviews the major issues federal and state policy makers face as they consider reforms affecting the relationship between workers' compensation and traditional health insurance. What is the relationship of the workers' compensation cost crisis to that in general health care? What strategies are being considered by states involved in reforming the medical component of workers compensation? What are the major policy implications of these strategies?
Since the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, reform activities have targeted various spheres, including the health sector. Several international aid and UN organizations have been involved, as well as local and international non-governmental organizations, with considerable financial and technical investments. Although important achievements have been made, it is not evident that the quality of care has improved or that the most pressing health needs have been addressed, even before the second Palestinian Uprising that began in September 2000. The crisis of the Israeli re-invasion of Palestinian-controlled towns and villages since April 2002 and the attendant collapse of state structures and services have raised the problems to critical levels. This paper attempts to analyze some of the obstacles that have faced reform efforts. In our assessment, those include: ongoing conflict, frail Palestinian quasi-state structures and institutions, multiple and at times inappropriate donor policies and practices in the health sector, and a policy vacuum characterized by the absence of internal Palestinian debate on the type and direction of reform the country needs to take. In the face of all these considerations, it is important that reform efforts be flexible and consider realistically the political and economic contexts of the health system, rather than focus on mere narrow technical, managerial and financial solutions imported from the outside.
health sector reform; conflict; Occupied Palestinian Territories
The Mental Health Country Profile is a tool that was generated by the International Mental Health Policy and Services Project to inform policy makers, professionals and other key stakeholders about important issues which need to be considered in mental health policy development. The Mental Health Country Profile contains four domains, which include the mental health context, resources, provision and outcomes. We have aimed to generate a Mental Health Country Profile for Vietnam, in order to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the Vietnamese mental health situation, in order to inform future reform efforts and decision-making.
This study used snowball sampling to identify informants for generating a Mental Health Country Profile for Vietnam, and the data gathering was done through semi-structured interviews and collection of relevant reports and documents. The material from the interviews and documents was analysed according to qualitative content analysis.
Marked strengths of the Vietnam mental health system are the aims to move toward community management and detection of mental illness, and the active involvement of several multilateral organizations and NGOs. However, there are a number of shortages still found, including the lack of treatment interventions apart from medications, the high proportion of treatments to be paid out-of-pocket, prominence of large tertiary psychiatric hospitals, and a lack of preventative measures or mental health information to the public.
At the end of this decade, mental health care in Vietnam is still characterised by unclear policy and poor critical mass especially within the governmental sector. This initial attempt to map the mental health situation of Vietnam suffers from a number of limitations and should be seen as a first step towards a comprehensive profile.