Pro-poor health policies in poverty reduction strategies

Laterveer, Leontien, Niessen, Louis W. and Yazbeck, Abdo S. (2003) Pro-poor health policies in poverty reduction strategies. Health Policy and Planning, 18 (2). pp. 138-145. ISSN 0268-1080

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Since 1999, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have required low-income countries soliciting for debt relief and financial support to prepare a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The objective of this study is to arrive at a systematic assessment of the extent to which the first batch of interim PRSPs actually addresses the health of the poor and vulnerable. A literature study was used to design and test a semi-quantitative approach to assess the pro-poor focus of health policies in national documents. The approach was applied to the existing interim proposals for 23 Highly Indebted Poor Countries. Results show that a majority of proposals lack country-specific data on the distribution and composition of the burden of disease, a clear identification of health system constraints and an assessment of the impact of health services on the population. More importantly, they make little effort to analyze these issues in relation to the poor. Furthermore, only a small group explicitly includes the interests of the poor in health policy design. Attention to policies aiming at enhancing equity in public health spending is even more limited. Few papers that include expenditure proposals also show pro-poor focused health budgets. We conclude that our systematic assessment of a new international development policy instrument, PRSP, raises strong concerns about the attributed role of health in development and the limited emphasis on the poor, the supposed primary beneficiaries of this instrument. There is a need and an opportunity for the international development community to provide assistance and inputs as poor countries shift their policy thinking from an interim stage to fully developed national policies. This paper presents a menu of analytical and policy options that can be pursued.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: delivery of health care,developing countries,financing, organized,health expenditures,health policy,health services accessibility,humans,poverty,public health,united nations,vulnerable populations,sdg 1 - no poverty,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/no_poverty
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Health Economics
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2014 12:52
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 14:31
DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czg018

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