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Transforming Health Markets in Asia and Africa: Improving quality and access for the poor

Future Health Systems

Bloom, G., B. Kanjilal, H. Lucas, D. Peters (eds) (2012) Transforming Health Markets in Asia and Africa: Improving quality and access for the poor. Earthscan, Routledge.



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.



  1. Introduction Gerald Bloom, Barun Kanjilal, Henry Lucas, David P. Peters and Hilary Standing
  2. Transition in the Indian Healthcare Market Barun Kanjilal and Sumit Mazumdar
  3. Lessons from an Intervention Programme to make Informal Health Care Providers Effective in a Rural Area of Bangladesh Mohammad Iqbal, Tania Wahed, Syed Manzoor Ahmed Hanifi, Mohammad Shomik, Shehrin Shaila Mahmood, Rumesa Rowen Aziz, Zeeshan Rahman and Abbas Bhuiya
  4. Drug Detailers and the Pharmaceutical Market in Bangladesh M. Hafizur Rahman and Smisha Agarwal
  5. China’s Rural Hospitals in the Transition to a Market Economy: A Case Study In Two Peri-Urban Counties In Guangxi Province Gerald Bloom, Fang Jing, Fang Lijie, Ren Jing and Wu Huazhang 
  6. Informal Markets in Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Commodities in Rural and Urban Bangladesh Hilary Standing, Sabina Faiz Rashid and Owasim Akram 
  7. Improving the Performance of Patent Medicine Vendors in NigeriaOladimeji Oladepo and Henry Lucas 
  8. Yes, they can. Peer Educators for Diabetes in Cambodia Maurits van Pelt, Henry Lucas, Chean Men, Ou Vun, MoPoTsyo, and Wim Van Damme
  9. Evidence of the Effects of Market-Based Innovations and International Initiatives to Improve the Performance of Private Providers Claire Champion, Gerald Bloom and David Peters
  10. A Review of ICT Innovations by Private Sector Providers in Developing CountriesHenry Lucas
  11. The Economics of Social Franchising for Health in Low and Middle Income Countries David Bishai and Claire Champion
  12. Conclusions: Making Health Markets Work Better for Poor People Gerald Bloom, Barun Kanjilal, Henry Lucas, David P. Peters and Hilary Standing