Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) represent almost half the world's population, and all five national governments recently committed to work nationally, regionally, and globally to ensure that universal health coverage (UHC) is achieved. This analysis reviews national efforts to achieve UHC. With a broad range of health indicators, life expectancy (ranging from 53 years to 73 years), and mortality rate in children younger than 5 years (ranging from 10·3 to 44·6 deaths per 1000 livebirths), a review of progress in each of the BRICS countries shows that each has some way to go before achieving UHC. The BRICS countries show substantial, and often similar, challenges in moving towards UHC. On the basis of a review of each country, the most pressing problems are: raising insufficient public spending; stewarding mixed private and public health systems; ensuring equity; meeting the demands for more human resources; managing changing demographics and disease burdens; and addressing the social determinants of health. Increases in public funding can be used to show how BRICS health ministries could accelerate progress to achieve UHC. Although all the BRICS countries have devoted increased resources to health, the biggest increase has been in China, which was probably facilitated by China's rapid economic growth. However, the BRICS country with the second highest economic growth, India, has had the least improvement in public funding for health. Future research to understand such different levels of prioritisation of the health sector in these countries could be useful. Similarly, the role of strategic purchasing in working with powerful private sectors, the effect of federal structures, and the implications of investment in primary health care as a foundation for UHC could be explored. These issues could serve as the basis on which BRICS countries focus their efforts to share ideas and strategies.
U.S. state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) are federally funded to provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) as the payer of last resort to eligible persons with HIV infection. States differ regarding their financial contributions to and ways of implementing these programs, and it remains unclear how this interstate variability affects HIV treatment outcomes.
We analyzed data from HIV-infected individuals who were clinically-eligible for ART between 2001 and 2009 (i.e., a first reported CD4+
Implementation of quality improvements in palliative care (PC) is challenging, and detailed knowledge about factors that may facilitate or hinder implementation is essential for success. One part of the EU-funded IMPACT project (IMplementation of quality indicators in PAlliative Care sTudy) aiming to increase the knowledge base, was to conduct national studies in PC services. This study aims to identify factors perceived as barriers or facilitators for improving PC in cancer and dementia settings in Norway.
Individual, dual-participant and focus group interviews were conducted with 20 employees working in different health care services in Norway: two hospitals, one nursing home, and two local medical centers. Thematic analysis with a combined inductive and theoretical approach was applied.
Barriers and facilitators were connected to (1) the innovation (e.g. credibility, advantage, accessibility, attractiveness); (2) the individual professional (e.g. motivation, PC expertise, confidence); (3) the patient (e.g. compliance); (4) the social context (e.g. leadership, culture of change, face-to-face contact); (5) the organizational context (e.g. resources, structures/facilities, expertise); (6) the political and economic context (e.g. policy, legislation, financial arrangements) and (7) the implementation strategy (e.g. educational, meetings, reminders). Four barriers that were particular to PC were identified: the poor general condition of patients in need of PC, symptom assessment tools that were not validated in all patient groups, lack of PC expertise and changes perceived to be at odds with staff's philosophy of care.
When planning an improvement project in PC, services should pay particular attention to factors associated with their chosen implementation strategy. Leaders should also involve staff early in the improvement process, ensure that they have the necessary training in PC and that the change is consistent with the staff's philosophy of care. An important consideration when implementing a symptom assessment tool is whether or not the tool has been validated for the relevant patient group, and to what degree patients need to be involved when using the tool.
Canada is a high-income country with a population of 33 million people. Its economic performance has been solid despite the recession that began in 2008. Life expectancy in Canada continues to rise and is high compared with most OECD countries; however, infant and maternal mortality rates tend to be worse than in countries such as Australia, France and Sweden. About 70% of total health expenditure comes from the general tax revenues of the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Most public revenues for health are used to provide universal medicare (medically necessary hospital and physician services that are free at the point of service for residents) and to subsidise the costs of outpatient prescription drugs and long-term care. Health care costs continue to grow at a faster rate than the economy and government revenue, largely driven by spending on prescription drugs. In the last five years, however, growth rates in pharmaceutical spending have been matched by hospital spending and overtaken by physician spending, mainly due to increased provider remuneration. The governance, organization and delivery of health services is highly decentralized, with the provinces and territories responsible for administering medicare and planning health services. In the last ten years there have been no major pan-Canadian health reform initiatives but individual provinces and territories have focused on reorganizing or fine tuning their regional health systems and improving the quality, timeliness and patient experience of primary, acute and chronic care. The medicare system has been effective in providing Canadians with financial protection against hospital and physician costs. However, the narrow scope of services covered under medicare has produced important gaps in coverage and equitable access may be a challenge in these areas.
Disinvestment in health services is seen as challenging by decision-makers as the public usually reacts strongly to rationing and retrenchments. Drawing on the literature on welfare state retrenchment - the reduction of public expenditure by cutting costs or spending - this article explores the development and implementation of a comprehensive retrenchment programme in one local health system in Sweden (a so-called region). According to theory, retrenchments are both electorally risky and institutionally difficult. Nonetheless, they take place and in the local health system we investigate, without too extensive public protest and without decision-makers having to resign. The main question in this qualitative study is: why and how was it possible to make such comprehensive retrenchments despite being unpopular and facing many political and institutional barriers? Interviews with 18 local politicians and public servants were carried out between January 18 and April 3, 2017, and analysed from the perspective of political strategy. They showed that the serious budget deficit, and a shared understanding of what the region's problems were, are important explanations for why the retrenchment programme was possible to develop and implement. Based on a thorough internal review of the health system, a crisis discourse developed which partly depoliticized the retrenchment programme. Justification and framing are keys to how it was possible. The retrenchment programme was justified by arguing that current service provision exceeded that in comparable regions, and framed as necessary saving the local health system and enhancing quality. Important strategies were thus to redefine the retrenchments and to blame-share, the latter through politicians and public servants claiming responsibility together after involving the clinic managers. In sum, our study shows that the retrenchment literature and theories on political strategy may be fruitfully applied to the health-care sector as well. By studying the local level, our findings contribute to the retrenchment literature, indicating that political strategy at the local level is more about justification and blame sharing, than blame avoidance.
The purpose of this study was to disclose the psychological meaning structure of dentistry as a free market within the context of leading Swedish policymaking. Following the criteria for the descriptive phenomenological psychological method data was collected from leading policy makers about the experiential aspects of dentistry as a free market within the context of a welfare state. The analysis showed that dentistry as a free market was experienced as a complex business relationship between buyers and sellers that transcended the traditional dentist and patient roles. The lived experience of the proposed business transaction was based on two inherently conflicting views: the belief in the individual's ability to make a free choice versus the understanding that all individuals in a society do not have the ability or the means necessary to make a free choice. Dentistry as a free market within a welfare state, such as Sweden, can thus be seen as a persistent attempt to hold on to a compromise between two very distinctive political ideologies.
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Cites: Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2016 Mar 09;11:30682 PMID 26968361
This article examines developments in the Swedish drug treatment services in 1982-2000 and explores the ways in which political initiatives and the state administration's management have contributed to the major privatisations of institutional drug treatment during this period.
The empirical basis for the textual analysis lies in official reports, parliamentary material and archived records from the Stockholm County Administrative Board's management of treatment facilities.
The major privatisations of drug treatment services in the 1980s were both unintentional and unwanted and mainly arose from a lack of bureaucratic control and ideological anchorage. The privatisations were, however, reinforced by ideologically driven NPM-oriented political initiatives in the 1990s.
The market-oriented treatment services have failed to fulfil the needs for diversity and availability within a publicly financed sector, which deals with unevenly informed and often socio-economically weak citizens. New management models in this field must ensure that ideological considerations are taken into account to meet politically decided goals and means.
This analysis of the Finnish health system reviews developments in its organization and governance, financing, provision of services, health reforms and health system performance. Finland is a welfare state witha high standard of social and living conditions and a low poverty rate. Its health system has a highly decentralized administration, multiple funding sources, and three provision channels for statutory services in first-contact care: the municipal system, the national health insurance system, and occupational health care. The core health system is organized by the municipalities (i.e. local authorities) which are responsible for financing primary and specialized care. Health financing arrangements are fragmented, with municipalities, the health insurance system, employers and households all contributing substantial shares. The health system performs relatively well, as health services are fairly effective, but accessibility may be an issue due to long waiting times and relatively high levels of cost sharing. For over a decade, there has been broad agreement on the need to reform the Finnish health system, but reaching a feasible policy consensus has been challenging.