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1.  Making a success of providing NHS Health Checks in community pharmacies across the Tees Valley: a qualitative study 
Background
In England and Wales, the Department of Health introduced a primary prevention programme, NHS Health Checks, to provide screening for cardiovascular risk amongst people aged 40-74. The aim of this programme is to offer treatment and advice to those identified with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
The North East of England has some of the highest rates of CVD in the UK and prevention is therefore a priority. NHS Tees funded this programme of work under the local branding of Healthy Heart Checks (HHC). These were initially implemented principally through GP practices from October 2008 but, in order to mitigate the possibility that some hard to reach communities would be reluctant to engage with some primary care settings, plans were also developed to deliver the programme through workplace settings and through community pharmacies. This paper reports specifically on the findings from the evaluation in respect of the setting up of HHCs in community pharmacies and aims to offer some lessons for other service settings where this option is seen as a way of providing low threshold services which will minimise inequalities in intervention uptake.
Methods
In assessing the community pharmacy component of HHCs, a selection of staff having direct involvement in the process was invited to take part in the evaluation. Interviews were carried out with representatives from community pharmacy, staff members from the commissioning Primary Care Trusts and with Local Pharmaceutical Committee members.
Results
Evaluation and analysis identified challenges which should be anticipated and addressed in initiating HHC in community pharmacies. These have been categorised into four main themes for discussion in this paper: (1) establishing and maintaining pharmacy Healthy Heart Checks, (2) overcoming IT barriers, (3) developing confident, competent staff and (4) ensuring volume and through flow in pharmacy.
Conclusions
Delivering NHS health checks through community pharmacies can be a complex process, requiring meticulous planning, and may incur higher than expected costs. Findings from our evaluation provide insight into possible barriers to setting up services in pharmacies which may help other commissioning bodies when considering community pharmacy as a location for primary prevention interventions in future.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-222
PMCID: PMC3182894  PMID: 21929809
2.  Quality of Private and Public Ambulatory Health Care in Low and Middle Income Countries: Systematic Review of Comparative Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1000433.
Paul Garner and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 80 studies to compare the quality of private versus public ambulatory health care in low- and middle-income countries.
Background
In developing countries, the private sector provides a substantial proportion of primary health care to low income groups for communicable and non-communicable diseases. These providers are therefore central to improving health outcomes. We need to know how their services compare to those of the public sector to inform policy options.
Methods and Findings
We summarised reliable research comparing the quality of formal private versus public ambulatory health care in low and middle income countries. We selected studies against inclusion criteria following a comprehensive search, yielding 80 studies. We compared quality under standard categories, converted values to a linear 100% scale, calculated differences between providers within studies, and summarised median values of the differences across studies. As the results for for-profit and not-for-profit providers were similar, we combined them. Overall, median values indicated that many services, irrespective of whether public or private, scored low on infrastructure, clinical competence, and practice. Overall, the private sector performed better in relation to drug supply, responsiveness, and effort. No difference between provider groups was detected for patient satisfaction or competence. Synthesis of qualitative components indicates the private sector is more client centred.
Conclusions
Although data are limited, quality in both provider groups seems poor, with the private sector performing better in drug availability and aspects of delivery of care, including responsiveness and effort, and possibly being more client orientated. Strategies seeking to influence quality in both groups are needed to improve care delivery and outcomes for the poor, including managing the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The provision of private (“for-profit” hospitals and self-employed practitioners, and “not-for-profit” non-government providers, including faith-based organizations) versus public health care services in low and middle income countries raises considerable ideological debate. Ideological arguments aside—which can be very passionate on both sides—there is general agreement that improving the quality of both public and private health care could have a major impact on improved health outcomes, especially as the private sector is so widely used in low and middle income countries. For example, almost three quarters and half of children from the poorest households of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, respectively, seek health care from a private provider when they are ill. Private providers are also increasingly responsible for outpatient care for non-communicable diseases.
As a result of the mixed health care system in many low and middle income countries, adequate oversight and stewardship of the mixed system from the national government is essential yet often missing.
Why Was This Study Done?
An understanding of how quality and performance in the private sector compares with that in the public sector would help governments to prioritize where they need to concentrate their efforts. So, for example, if the private sector is generally providing poorer quality care than the public sector, then there is an imperative to improve the quality and outcomes; on the other hand, if the quality of care offered by the private sector is good, the policy priority is to influence the market to further improve access to such health care for low income groups.
In order to help with this comparison, the researchers wanted to systematically identify and summarize the results of studies that directly compared the quality of care offered by public providers with the one offered by “formal” private providers (recognized by law) and “informal” private providers (providers that are not legally recognized, such as lay health workers and shop keepers). For the purposes of this study the researchers focused their comparison on the private and public provision of outpatient care in low and middle income countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In their literature review, the researchers searched for relevant studies reported in English, French, or German and published between January 1970 and April 2009. Only studies that compared private and public outpatient medical services in the same country, at the same time, using the same methods, and which met particular quality criteria, were included in the analysis. The researchers also had strict criteria for including qualitative studies, and they retrieved the full text of articles, contacted study authors where appropriate, and verified with a second researcher most (80%) of the extracted study data. In order to evaluate and compare the studies, the researchers converted study values to a linear 100% scale, calculated differences between providers within studies, and summarized the median values of the differences across studies.
The researchers identified a total of 8,812 relevant titles and abstracts and found 80 studies that included direct quantitative comparisons of public and private formal providers. Ten studies included qualitative data. Most studies were conducted after 1990, and mainly in sub-Saharan Africa (n = 39) and Asia and the Pacific (n = 23). Most studies did not report socio-economic status of public and private service users, and only five studies presented data by different income groups. No study compared the same individual providers working in public and private care settings. Only two studies compared public providers and private informal providers, so the authors excluded these from subsequent analysis.
For the formal sector, since the results for “for-profit” and “not-for-profit” providers were similar, the researchers decided to combine the results. Overall, the researchers found that the median values indicated that many services, irrespective of whether public or private, scored low (less than 50%) on infrastructure, clinical competence, and practice. Generally, the private sector performed better in relation to drug supply, responsiveness, and effort, but there was no detectable difference between provider groups for patient satisfaction. Furthermore, a synthesis of qualitative data suggested that the private sector may be more client-centered.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Based on the findings of this review, there is a clear need to consider the quality of primary health services in both the public and private sector in order to improve health outcomes in low and middle income countries. These findings also indicate that, for some aspects of care, on average the private sector provided better quality services. The overall low quality of care in both the formal private and public sector found in this review is worrying, and calls for the governments of low and middle income countries to find and implement effective strategies to improve the quality in both sectors. This is particularly important given the increasing volume of conditions that require relatively sophisticated, long-term ambulatory medical care, such as non-communicable diseases.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000433.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Jishnu Das
WHO has more information on health service delivery in low- and middle-income countries
WHO has more information on noncommunicable diseases
The World Bank's World Development Report for 2004 addresses health care for poor people
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000433
PMCID: PMC3075233  PMID: 21532746
3.  Recent changes in human resources for health and health facilities at the district level in Indonesia: evidence from 3 districts in Java 
Background
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.
Methods
Information was derived from records at the district health office and, where necessary for clarification, discussions with district officials.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-9-5
PMCID: PMC3049179  PMID: 21314986
4.  Current situation of midwives in indonesia: Evidence from 3 districts in West Java Province 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:287.
Background
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.
Findings
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-287
PMCID: PMC2992543
5.  Why don't some women attend antenatal and postnatal care services?: a qualitative study of community members' perspectives in Garut, Sukabumi and Ciamis districts of West Java Province, Indonesia 
Background
Antenatal, delivery and postnatal care services are amongst the recommended interventions aimed at preventing maternal and newborn deaths worldwide. West Java is one of the provinces of Java Island in Indonesia with a high proportion of home deliveries, a low attendance of four antenatal services and a low postnatal care uptake. This paper aims to explore community members' perspectives on antenatal and postnatal care services, including reasons for using or not using these services, the services received during antenatal and postnatal care, and cultural practices during antenatal and postnatal periods in Garut, Sukabumi and Ciamis districts of West Java province.
Methods
A qualitative study was conducted from March to July 2009 in six villages in three districts of West Java province. Twenty focus group discussions (FGDs) and 165 in-depth interviews were carried out involving a total of 295 respondents. The guidelines for FGDs and in-depth interviews included the topics of community experiences with antenatal and postnatal care services, reasons for not attending the services, and cultural practices during antenatal and postnatal periods.
Results
Our study found that the main reason women attended antenatal and postnatal care services was to ensure the safe health of both mother and infant. Financial difficulty emerged as the major issue among women who did not fulfil the minimum requirements of four antenatal care services or two postnatal care services within the first month after delivery. This was related to the cost of health services, transportation costs, or both. In remote areas, the limited availability of health services was also a problem, especially if the village midwife frequently travelled out of the village. The distances from health facilities, in addition to poor road conditions were major concerns, particularly for those living in remote areas. Lack of community awareness about the importance of these services was also found, as some community members perceived health services to be necessary only if obstetric complications occurred. The services of traditional birth attendants for antenatal, delivery, and postnatal care were widely used, and their roles in maternal and child care were considered vital by some community members.
Conclusions
It is important that public health strategies take into account the availability, affordability and accessibility of health services. Poverty alleviation strategies will help financially deprived communities to use antenatal and postnatal health services. This study also demonstrated the importance of health promotion programs for increasing community awareness about the necessity of antenatal and postnatal services.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-61
PMCID: PMC2964562  PMID: 20937146
6.  Why do some women still prefer traditional birth attendants and home delivery?: a qualitative study on delivery care services in West Java Province, Indonesia 
Background
Trained birth attendants at delivery are important for preventing both maternal and newborn deaths. West Java is one of the provinces on Java Island, Indonesia, where many women still deliver at home and without the assistance of trained birth attendants. This study aims to explore the perspectives of community members and health workers about the use of delivery care services in six villages of West Java Province.
Methods
A qualitative study using focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews was conducted in six villages of three districts in West Java Province from March to July 2009. Twenty FGDs and 165 in-depth interviews were conducted involving a total of 295 participants representing mothers, fathers, health care providers, traditional birth attendants and community leaders. The FGD and in-depth interview guidelines included reasons for using a trained or a traditional birth attendant and reasons for having a home or an institutional delivery.
Results
The use of traditional birth attendants and home delivery were preferable for some community members despite the availability of the village midwife in the village. Physical distance and financial limitations were two major constraints that prevented community members from accessing and using trained attendants and institutional deliveries. A number of respondents reported that trained delivery attendants or an institutional delivery were only aimed at women who experienced obstetric complications. The limited availability of health care providers was reported by residents in remote areas. In these settings the village midwife, who was sometimes the only health care provider, frequently travelled out of the village. The community perceived the role of both village midwives and traditional birth attendants as essential for providing maternal and health care services.
Conclusions
A comprehensive strategy to increase the availability, accessibility, and affordability of delivery care services should be considered in these West Java areas. Health education strategies are required to increase community awareness about the importance of health services along with the existing financing mechanisms for the poor communities. Public health strategies involving traditional birth attendants will be beneficial particularly in remote areas where their services are highly utilized.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-43
PMCID: PMC2928756  PMID: 20701762
7.  Health system performance at the district level in Indonesia after decentralization 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-10-3
PMCID: PMC2839983  PMID: 20205724
8.  Health facilities at the district level in Indonesia 
Background
At Independence the Government of Indonesia inherited a weak and unevenly distributed health system to which much of the population had only limited access. In response, the government decided to increase the number of facilities and to locate them closer to the people. To staff these health facilities the government introduced obligatory government service for all new graduates in medicine, nursing and midwifery. Most of these staff also established private practices in the areas in which they were located. The health information system contains little information on the health care facilities established for private practice by these staff. This article reports on the results of enumerating all health facilities in 15 districts in Java.
Methods
We enumerated all healthcare facilities, public and private, by type in each of 15 districts in Java.
Results
The enumeration showed a much higher number of healthcare facilities in each district than is shown in most reports and in the health information system which concentrates on public, multi-provider facilities. Across the 15 districts: 86% of facilities were solo-provider facilities for outpatient services; 13% were multi-provider facilities for outpatient services; and 1% were multi-provider facilities offering both outpatient and inpatient services.
Conclusion
The relatively good distribution of health facilities in Indonesia was achieved through establishing public health centers at the sub-district level and staffing them through a system of compulsory service for doctors, nurses and midwives. Subsequently, these public sector staff also established solo-provider facilities for their own private practice; these solo-provider facilities, of which those for nurses are almost half, comprise the largest category of outpatient care facilities, most are not included in official statistics. Now that Indonesia no longer has mandatory service for newly graduated doctors, nurses and midwives, it will have difficulty maintaining the distribution of facilities and providers established through the 1980s. The current challenge is to envision a new health system that responds to the changing disease patterns as well as the changes in distribution of health facilities.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-6-13
PMCID: PMC2689868  PMID: 19445728
9.  Public funding of health at the district level in Indonesia after decentralization – sources, flows and contradictions 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-7-5
PMCID: PMC2678112  PMID: 19371410
10.  Human resources for health at the district level in Indonesia: the smoke and mirrors of decentralization 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-6
PMCID: PMC2662783  PMID: 19192269

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