This report by the WHO Consultative Group on Equity and Universal Health Coverage addresses how countries can make fair progress towards the goal of universal coverage. It explains the relevant tradeoffs between different desirable ends and offers guidance on how to make these tradeoffs.
Because the demand for health services outstrips the available resources, priority setting is one of the most difficult issues faced by health policy makers, particularly those in developing countries. Priority setting in developing countries is fraught with uncertainty due to lack of credible information, weak priority setting institutions, and unclear priority setting processes. Efforts to improve priority setting in these contexts have focused on providing information and tools. In this paper we argue that priority setting is a value laden and (...) political process, and although important, the available information and tools are not sufficient to address the priority setting challenges in developing countries. Additional complementary efforts are required. Hence, a strategy to improve priority setting in developing countries should also include: (i) capturing current priority setting practices, (ii) improving the legitimacy and capacity of institutions that set priorities, and (iii) developing fair priority setting processes. (shrink)
La cobertura universal de salud está en el centro de la acción actual para fortalecer los sistemas de salud y mejorar el nivel y la distribución de la salud y los servicios de salud. Este documento es el informe fi nal del Grupo Consultivo de la OMS sobre la Equidad y Cobertura Universal de Salud. Aquí se abordan los temas clave de la justicia (fairness) y la equidad que surgen en el camino hacia la cobertura universal de salud. Por lo (...) tanto, el informe es pertinente para cada agente que infl uye en ese camino y en particular para los gobiernos, ya que se encargan de supervisar y guiar el progreso hacia la cobertura universal de salud. (shrink)
Progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) requires making difficult trade-offs. In this journal, Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, has endorsed the principles for making such decisions put forward by the WHO Consultative Group on Equity and UHC. These principles include maximizing population health, priority for the worse off, and shielding people from health-related financial risks. But how should one apply these principles in particular cases and how should one adjudicate between them when their demands conflict? This paper by some (...) members of the Consultative Group and a diverse group of health policy professionals addresses these questions. It considers three stylized versions of actual policy dilemmas. Each of these cases pertains to one of the three principal dimensions of progress towards UHC: which services to cover first, which populations to prioritize for coverage, and how to move from out-of-pocket expenditures to pre-payment with pooling of funds. Our cases are simplified to highlight common trade-offs. While we make specific recommendations, our primary aim is to demonstrate both the form and substance of the reasoning involved in striking a fair balance between competing interests on the road to UHC. (shrink)
Priority setting remains a big challenge for health managers and planners, yet there is paucity of literature on evaluating priority setting. The purpose of this paper is to present a framework for evaluating priority setting in low and middle income countries. We conducted a qualitative study involving a review of literature and Delphi interviews with respondents knowledgeable of priority setting in low and middle income countries. Respondents were asked to identify the measures of successful priority setting in low and middle (...) income countries. Responses were grouped as: immediate internal or external/delayed internal or external. We also identified some pre-requisites for successful priority setting. The immediate internal measures included increased efficiency in decision making, improved quality of decisions and fairer priority setting. Immediate External measures included—improved public understanding and acceptance of decisions, increased public participation, increased trust. Delayed Internal measures included increased satisfaction, understanding, compliance, balanced budget, achievement of organization goals, and improved internal accountability. Delayed External measures include impact on policy and practice, improved population health and reduction of health inequalities, achievement of health system goals and strengthening of health care systems. Identified pre-requisites for successful priority setting included; the presence of credible priority setting institutions, incentives for participation and implementation and resources, capacity and political will to implement. These would be augmented in a conducive political, social and economic context. This framework, although not exhaustive, provides a practical basis for planning and evaluating priority setting in low and middle income countries. (shrink)