Many Asian countries are in the midst of multiple interconnected social, economic, demographic, technological, institutional and environmental transitions. These changes are having important impacts on health and well-being and on the capacity of health systems to respond to health-related problems. This paper focuses on the creation of institutions to overcome information asymmetry and encourage the provision of safe, effective and affordable health services in this context of complexity and rapid change.
Entries in Gerald Bloom (23)
Institutional Solutions to the Asymmetric Information Problem in Health and Development Services for the Poor
The world’s poorest pay for professional services and thus are in a “market,” whether the services are provided in the public or private sectors. The associated problems of unequal information are particularly acute in under governed countries, where state regulation is weak. We systematically review the evidence on solutions to these problems in a variety of professions. Payments by clients are more likely to have a positive effect on quality if they are made through locally-managed organizations rather than directly to individual practitioners, particularly if those organizations have an institutionalized history of other—regarding values and incorporate client participation.
In this correspondence, the authors note that governments and policy-makers are aiming to improve health markets in developing countries as they take up the challenge of last year's United Nations resolution to move towards universal health coverage. We caution that they must do more than simply legislate their way to a more orderly health system.
There has been a dramatic spread of health markets in much of Asia and Africa over the past couple of decades. This has substantially increased the availability of health-related goods and services in all but the most remote localities, but it has created problems with safety, efficiency and cost. The effort to bring order to these chaotic markets is almost certain to become one of the greatest challenges in global health. This book documents the problems associated with unregulated health markets and presents innovative approaches that have emerged to address them. It outlines a framework that researchers, policy makers and social entrepreneurs can use to analyse health market systems and assess the likely outcome of alternative interventions. The book presents a new way of understanding highly marketised health systems, applies this understanding to an analysis of health markets in countries across Asia and Africa and identifies some of the major new developments for making these markets perform better in meeting the needs of the poor. It argues that it is time to move beyond ideological debates about the roles of public and private sectors in an ideal health system and focus more on understanding the operation of these markets and developing practical strategies for improving their performance. This book is ideal reading for researchers and students in public health, development studies, public policy and administration, health economics, medical anthropology, and science and technology studies. It is also a valuable resource for policy makers, social entrepreneurs, and planners and managers in public and private sector health systems, including pharmaceutical companies, aid agencies, NGOs and international organisations.
Exploring the Ethics of Long-Term Research Engagement With Communities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Over the past few decades, there has been increasing attention focused on the ethics of health research, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Despite the increasing focus on the literature addressing human protection, community engagement, appropriate consent procedures and ways to mitigate concerns around exploitation, there has been little discussion about how the duration of the research engagement may affect the ethical design and implementation of studies. In other words, what are the unique ethical challenges when researchers engage with host communities for longer periods (10 years or more), and what special considerations does this time commitment generate when applying ethical principles to these kinds of studies? This article begins to outline key areas of ethical concern that arise during long-term, sustained research activities with communities in low-resource settings. Through a review of the literature and consultations with experts in health systems, we identified the following key themes: fair benefits and long-term beneficence; community autonomy, consultation and consent; impacts on local health systems; economic impacts of research participation; ethical review processes; and institutional processes and oversight within research organizations. We hope that this preliminary exploration will stimulate further dialogue and help inform ethical guidance around long-term research engagements in the developing world.