Maternal mortality remains a health challenge that many developing countries struggle to address. Drawing on 64 key informant interviews, this article shows how Ghana’s most impoverished administrative region, the Upper East, emerged as a bureaucratic ‘pocket of effectiveness’ in reducing maternal mortality in a context where national political settlement dynamics are undermining progress in improving maternal health. At the national level, Ghana’s progress in reducing maternal mortality has been disappointing because public investments are disproportionately directed to reforms that contribute to the short-term political survival of ruling elites. Competitive electoral pressures have contributed to greater elite commitment towards health sector investments with visual impact, while weakening elite incentives for dedicating resources to interventions that are necessary for enhancing the quality of health. In the Upper East Region, the rapid reduction in maternal mortality in recent years has been driven by a hybrid form of accountability that combines top-down pressures from the regional health directorate with horizontal forms of accountability that result in a competitive spirit among health workers. These findings show that even in contexts where resources are limited, the capacity of sub-national leaders in devising local solutions to local problems can lead to improved performance of health systems at the sub-national level. The findings also suggest the need for academic debates to go beyond the binary distinctions regarding the usefulness of top-down versus bottom-up accountability measures and focus on building effective and legitimate forms of accountability that run both top-down and bottom-up when seeking to improve health service delivery.
Objective: To assess National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) members’ level of understanding, experiences, and factors influencing their choice of NHIF-contracted outpatient facilities in Kenya. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional qualitative study with NHIF members in two purposefully selected counties (Nyeri and Makueni counties) in Kenya. We collected data through 15 focus group discussions with NHIF members. Data were analysed using a framework analysis approach. Results: Urban-based NHIF members had a good understanding of the NHIF-contracted outpatient facility selection process and the approaches for choosing and changing providers, unlike their rural counterparts. While NHIF members were required to choose a provider before accessing care, the number of available alternative facilities was perceived to be inadequate. Finally, NHIF members identified seven factors they considered important when choosing an NHIF-contracted outpatient provider. Of these factors, the availability of drugs, distance from the household to the facility and waiting time at the facility until consultation were considered the most important. Conclusion: There is a need for the NHIF to prioritise awareness-raising approaches tailored to rural settings. Further, there is a need for the NHIF to contract more providers to both spur competition among providers and provide alternatives for members to choose from. Besides, NHIF members revealed the important factors they consider when selecting outpatient facilities. Consequently, NHIF should leverage the preferred factors when contracting healthcare providers. Similarly, healthcare providers should enhance the availability of drugs, reduce waiting times whilst improving their staff’s attitudes which would enhance user satisfaction and the quality of care provided.
Executive Summary This policy brief provides lessons learned from development of Botswana Christian Health & AIDS Intervention Program (BOCHAIP) 2022-2026 strategy. In this strategy development paper, we outline the process of strategy development in a community health service providing non-governmental organization, six months of strategy implementation and make recommendations for strategic planning. The findings from this community-based organisation’s strategic plan development process extends scholarship on non-governmental organization strategy planning and development scholarship The findings from this paper could be utilised by other civil society organisation that experience similar strategy development process realities while taking into consideration the uniqueness of each organisation.
While the estimate of hospital costs concerns the past, its planning focus on the future. However, many public hospitals in low and middle-income countries don’t have robust accounting health systems to evaluate and project their expenses. In Brazil, public hospitals are funded based on government estimates of available hospital infrastructure, historical expenditures and population needs. However, these pieces of information are not always readily available for all hospitals. To solve this challenge, we propose a flexible simulation-based optimisation algorithm that integrates this dual task: estimating and planning hospital costs. The method was applied to a network of 17 public hospitals in Brazil to produce the estimates. Setting the model parameters for population needs and future hospital infrastructure can be used as a cost-projection tool for divestment, maintenance, or investment. Results show that the method can aid health managers in hospitals’ global budgeting and policymakers in improving fairness in hospitals’ financing.
Background: Pregnancy complications and adverse birth outcomes are among the major contributors to poor maternal and child health. Mothers in remote communities are at higher risk of adverse birth outcomes due to constraints in access to maternal healthcare services. In Ghana, a community-based primary healthcare program called the Ghana Essential Health Interventions Program (GEHIP) was implemented in a rural region to help strengthen primary healthcare delivery and improve maternal and child healthcare services delivery. This study assessed the effect of this program on adverse birth outcomes. Methods: Secondary household survey data from reproductive-aged women from the GEHIP project were used in this analysis. Difference-in-differences regression and logistic regression were used to examine the effect of GEHIP on adverse birth outcomes and equity in the distribution of adverse birth outcomes using household wealth index and maternal educational attainment as equity measures. The analysis involves the comparison of project baseline and end-line outcomes in intervention and non-intervention districts. Results: The intervention had a significant effect in the reduction of adverse pregnancy outcomes (DiD=-0.043; p-value=0.010). Although disadvantaged groups experience larger reductions in adverse pregnancy outcomes, controlling for covariates, there was no statistically significant equity effect of GEHIP on adverse pregnancy outcomes using either the household wealth index or maternal educational attainment as equity measures. Conclusion: GEHIP’s community-based healthcare program reduced adverse birth outcomes but no effect on relative equity was established. Factoring in approaches for targeting disadvantaged populations in the implementation of community-based health programs is crucial to ensuring equity in health outcomes.
The rise of AI is viewed as the next important technology in human history that would serve as a driver for sustainable development. Accordingly, several organizations have incorporated AI into their operations – including healthcare, hence, attracting extant literature to AI discussions. However, AI literature in healthcare has focused on medical diagnosis, operations, and prescriptions – to the neglect of supply chain (SC). This study bridges this knowledge gap by exploring the drivers and success factors of AI-enabled medical drones’ adoption in public healthcare SC. Drawing on data from the world’s largest medical drone programme in Ghana, we find that the need to make the public healthcare SC efficient with the aim of improving the socio-economic life of the citizens is the main driver of the policy adoption. Several success factors are identified and categorized into three phases – policy, project, and operation. Long-term policy and operating sustainability are delineated.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched campaigns to boost immunization rates to 70 percent globally by the middle of 2022. However, despite the global success of about 64% COVID-19 vaccination coverage, there is a big gap in Nigeria. To date, only 13.8% of the population has received the recommended dose. This demonstrates a significant disparity between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Amidst the wide gap in vaccination, COVID-19 vaccine wastage still occurs in Nigeria. At the end of 2021, it was estimated that over a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been wasted. It is anticipated that there will be more COVID-19 vaccine wastage in Nigeria, because of the combined factors that threaten vaccination uptake including vaccine hesitancy, lack of appropriate storage facilities, poor electricity supply, insecurity challenges, and inadequate health promotion. This results in concomitant financial and opportunity losses. In this paper, we discuss COVID-19 vaccine wastage in Nigeria including causes, and solutions that can be applied to mitigate this wastage.
Background: Specialized outpatient clinics account for about 30% of the total number of visits in the entire Brazilian health system. The Real-Time Management Dashboard (RTMD) is a tool that has great potential to deal with process errors, improve patient care and reduce costs, but its use is still concentrated in the hospital sector on a small scale. The aim of this study was to study the implementation and results of indicators of waiting for time and achievement of goals with the help of RTMD in a specialized ambulatory care outpatient unit. Method: This is a longitudinal study in which the analysis of waiting time indicators for consultations and exams was carried out in September and October, between 2012 and 2021. Information on user satisfaction with the time of service in the studied period was also evaluated. Results: A total of 277,925 records from 80,432 patients were analyzed. It could be observed that the monitoring of waiting time indicators through the RTMD contributed to better control of the flow of patients within the ambulatory unit with a decrease in the delay rate after the implementation of the immediate action protocol and waiting time classified as excellent by 97.1% of users with respect to the satisfaction rating. In addition, the RTMD contributed to the achievement of consultation and examination goals over the 10-year period of study. Conclusion: The RTMD proved to be a promising tool for the management of processes within medical specialty outpatient clinics. Keywords: Clinical Decision Support; Medical Informatics; Primacy Health Care; Public Health
Background: The planning and management of health policy is directly linked to evidence-based research. To obtain the most rigorous results in research it is important to have a representative sample. However, ethnic minorities are often not accounted for in research. Migration, equality, and diversity issues are important priorities which need to be considered by researchers. The aim of this systematic review (SR) is to explore the literature examining the experiences of minority language users in Health and Social Care Research (HSCR). Method: A SR of the literature was conducted. SPIDER framework and Cochrane principles were utilized to conduct the review. Five databases were searched, yielding 5311 papers initially. A SR protocol was developed and published in PROSPERO: https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?ID=CRD42020225114analysis. Results: Following the title and abstract review by two reviewers, 74 papers were included, and a narrative account was provided. Six themes were identified: 1. Disparities in healthcare; 2. Maternal health; 3. Mental health; 4. Methodology in health research; 5. Migrant and minority healthcare; 6. Racial and ethnic gaps in healthcare. Results showed that language barriers (including language proficiency) and cultural barriers still exist in terms of recruitment, possibly effecting the validity of the results. Several papers acknowledged language barriers but did not act to reduce them. Conclusion: Despite research highlighting cultures over the past 40 years, there is a need for this to be acknowledged and embedded in the research process. We propose that future research should include details of languages spoken so readers can understand the sample composition to be able to interpret the results in the best way, recognising the significance of culture and language. If language is not considered as a significant aspect of research, the findings of the research cannot be rigorous and therefore the validity is compromised.
For better serving people's complex needs the subsequent movement to person-centered integrated care, requires inter-organizational cooperation and service provision by domain-overarching networks and alliances. In the development to these networks, it is relevant to explore which accountability approaches are appropriate for local inter-organizational healthcare governance. Therefore, in a scoping review we studied the current state of knowledge and practice of accountability in healthcare in the Netherlands. We found that two of the included 41 studies show characteristics of accountability towards healthcare with characteristics of integration care components, such as integration of services with accompanying accountability arrangements and development of networked accountability. The first studies are found in the literature which report on accountability in integrated care. With this we add to the international discussion about accountability as an aspect of integrated care governance, by providing insight into the current state of art of accountability in Dutch healthcare.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health policy frontstage and exposed the stark differences in government capacities to respond to the crisis. This has created new demands for comparative heath policy to support knowledge creation on a large scale. However, comparative health policy has been ill prepared; studies have focused on health systems and used typologies together with descriptive, quantitative methods. This clouds the view for the multi-level nature of health policy, the diverse actors involved and the many societal facets of governance performance. We argue for health policy as a bottom-up process with diverse interests and suggest researching these processes comparatively to support policy learning. This calls for expanding the methodology of comparative health policy to include approaches that make greater use of explorative, qualitative research. We introduce possible developmental pathways to illustrate what this may look like. Firstly, the Pan-European Commission points to novel transnational and cross-sectoral collaborations, and a coordinated policy response to global challenges like the pandemic. Secondly, feminist networks show how to shift the focus towards social inequalities and the health needs of women and vulnerable populations. Thirdly, researchers demonstrate the value of new knowledge emerging from small-scale bottom-up comparisons based on structured assessment frameworks. Together, these developmental pathways demonstrate the potential to refocus comparative health policy towards greater responsiveness to the societal performance of governments, such as social inequalities created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This also opens opportunities for strengthening the global outlook of comparative health policy.
In recent years, healthcare organizations in North America have undergone major structural changes. As research indicates negative impacts of mergers on patient outcomes and difficulties for the nursing work group in particular, the present paper aims to answer calls for more research about the long-term effects of major organizational change on nursing professionals' well-being and professional practice. We used an exploratory qualitative research design and interviewed 43 nursing professionals in various roles, ranging from clinical nurses, nurse practitioners, to head nurses and nursing advisors. Drawing on the job demands-resources model and the person-environment fit theory, our data analysis suggests that the merger has led to a global structural disempowerment, with negative consequences for the nursing practice environment and nurse retention.