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Publications

Filtering by Tag: David H Peters

The application of systems thinking in health: why use systems thinking?

Future Health Systems

This paper explores the question of what systems thinking adds to the field of global health. Observing that elements of systems thinking are already common in public health research, the article discusses which of the large body of theories, methods, and tools associated with systems thinking are more useful. 

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DC HSB Event Video: Can systems tools deliver for the 'science of delivery'?

Future Health Systems

This is a video from the DC Health Systems Board event, Can systems tools deliver for the 'science of delivery'?, which was organised by Future Health Systems as part of its workshop on complex adaptive systems and held at Results for Development in June 2014.

At the event, panellists discussed and debated how systems thinking tools that are designed to tackle issues of complexity can contribute the successful implementation of health system strengthening interventions. The panel showcased some tools and examples, explaining how they had helped them to understand better health systems fluctuations and to anticipate unintended consequences to create more sustainable large-scale interventions.

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Innovation in regulation of rapidly changing health markets

Future Health Systems

The rapid evolution and spread of health markets across low and middle-income countries (LMICs) has contributed to a significant increase in the availability of health-related goods and services around the world. The support institutions needed to regulate these markets have lagged behind, with regulatory systems that are weak and under-resourced. This paper explores the key issues associated with regulation of health markets in LMICs, and the different goals of regulation, namely quality and safety of care, value for money, social agreement over fair access and financing, and accountability.

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Catastrophic out-of-pocket payment for healthcare and implications for household coping strategies: evidence from West Bengal, India'

Future Health Systems

Using data from a household survey in West Bengal, the purpose of this paper is to identify the relative risks of catastrophic healthcare expenditures for different types of health need, and the impact of such expenditure on household coping strategies. It concludes that Catastrophic health spending is an important problem for the population in West Bengal. More attention is needed on the poverty-inducing effects of long-term expenditures on chronic illness, given that existing schemes only address hospitalization.

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FHS Annual Report (2012-13)

Future Health Systems

The goal of Future Health Systems (FHS) is to improve access, affordability and quality of health services for the poor. In order to build resilient health systems for the future, we generate high quality scientific knowledge about how health systems can better deliver basic health services to the world’s poor. FHS supports its country research teams to identify and respond to health system challenges identified by local stakeholders. This annual report from the period 2012-13 captures our ongoing research, research uptake, and capacity building activities.

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Community-based approaches and partnerships: innovations in health-service delivery in Bangladesh

Future Health Systems

This article explores strategies in health-service delivery that have maximised reach and improved health outcomes. We identify three distinctive features that have enabled Bangladesh to improve health-service coverage and health outcomes: (1) experimentation with, and widespread application of, large-scale community-based approaches, especially investment in community health workers using a doorstep delivery approach; (2) experimentation with informal and contractual partnership arrangements that capitalise on the ability of non-governmental organisations to generate community trust, reach the most deprived populations, and address service gaps; and (3) rapid adoption of context-specific innovative technologies and policies that identify country-specific systems and mechanisms.
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Health care: Order health systems in developing world

Future Health Systems

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.
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Essential drugs policy in three rural counties in China: What does a complexity lens add?

Future Health Systems

In 2009 the government of China identified an essential drugs policy as one of five priority areas for health system reform. Since then, a national essential drugs policy has been defined, along with plans to implement it. As a large scale social intervention, the policy will have a significant impact on various local health actors. This paper uses the lens of complex adaptive systems to examine how the policy has been implemented in three rural Chinese counties. Using material gathered from interviews with key actors in county health bureaus and township health centers, we illustrate how a single policy can lead to multiple unanticipated outcomes. The complexity lens applied to the material gathered in interviews helps to identify relevant actors, their different relationships and policy responses and a new framework to better understand heterogeneous pathways and outcomes. Decision-makers and policy implementers are advised to embrace the complex and dynamic realities of policy implementation. This involves developing mechanisms to monitor different behaviors of key actors as well as the intended outcomes and unintended consequences of the policy.
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Sector-wide approaches (SWAps) in health: what have we learned?

Future Health Systems

Sector-wide approaches (SWAps) in health were developed in the early 1990s in response to widespread dissatisfaction with fragmented donor-sponsored projects and prescriptive adjustment lending. SWAps were intended to provide a more coherent way to articulate and manage government-led sectoral policies and expenditure frameworks and build local institutional capacity as well as offer a means to more effective relationships between governments and donor agencies. The global health landscape has changed dramatically since then. Although many countries have undertaken SWAps, the experience deviated considerably from the early vision, and many of the problems in national health systems persist. The future of SWAps will depend on stronger government oversight and innovative institutional arrangements to support health strategies that address the need for both targeted initiatives and stronger health systems to provide a wide range of public health and clinical services. For development assistance to be more effective, it will also depend on better discipline by donors to support national governments through transparent negotiation.
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Expecting the unexpected: applying the Develop-Distort Dilemma to maximize positive market impacts in health

Future Health Systems

Although health interventions start with good intentions to develop services for disadvantaged populations, they often distort the health market, making the delivery or financing of services difficult once the intervention is over: a condition called the ‘Develop-Distort Dilemma’ (DDD). In this paper, we describe how to examine whether a proposed intervention may develop or distort the health market. Our goal is to produce a tool that facilitates meaningful and systematic dialogue for practitioners and researchers to ensure that well-intentioned health interventions lead to productive health systems while reducing the undesirable distortions of such efforts.
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Transforming Health Markets in Asia and Africa: Improving quality and access for the poor

Future Health Systems

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.
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Bring order to unregulated health markets

Future Health Systems

In this commentary in Nature, the authors argue that the rapid expansion of health markets in Asia and Africa has made medicines, information and primary-care services available in all but the most remote areas. But it also creates problems with drug safety and efficiency, equity of treatment and the cost of care. Poorly trained practitioners often prescribe unnecessary pills or injections, with patients bearing the expense and the costs to their health. Counterfeit drugs are rife and drug resistance is growing. Bringing order to unruly health markets is a major challenge.
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Do we have the right models for scaling up health services to achieve the Millennium Development Goals?

Future Health Systems

There is widespread agreement on the need for scaling up in the health sector to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But many countries are not on track to reach the MDG targets. The dominant approach used by global health initiatives promotes uniform interventions and targets, assuming that specific technical interventions tested in one country can be replicated across countries to rapidly expand coverage. Yet countries scale up health services and progress against the MDGs at very different rates. Global health initiatives need to take advantage of what has been learned about scaling up.
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Better Guidance Is Welcome, but without Blinders

Future Health Systems

The three-paper series on guidance for evidence-informed decisions about health systems, published in PLoS Medicine, and produced by members of the World Health Organization (WHO) Task Force on Developing Health Systems Guidance, offers important contributions to improving the quality of evidence-informed decision-making in health systems [1]–[3]. We recognize the importance of engendering greater structure and systematization in processes that collate and evaluate evidence, and bring it to bear on policy. However, there are significant challenges in doing this for policies related to health systems, and we caution against the adoption of rigid approaches to the development of guidance and to the application of evidence to policy.
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Targeting accuracy and impact of a community-identified waiver card scheme for primary care user fees in Afghanistan

Future Health Systems

User fees are a known common barrier to using health services, particularly among the poor. When fees are present, many facilities have waiver systems for poor patients to exempt them from paying. Targeting waivers to patients who need them most has been a challenge, especially in fragile states, where relevant data are limited and trust in institutions is low. An analysis of the asset index of beneficiaries indicated that although targeting was progressive, significant leakage and high levels of under-coverage occurred; 42% of cards were used by people in the wealthiest three quintiles, and only 19% of people in the poorest quintile received a card. Households with waiver cards reported higher rates of care-seeking for recent illnesses compared to those without cards (p = 0.02).
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Association between health workforce capacity and quality of care for children under five in Afghanistan

Future Health Systems

This presentation by Dr Anbrasi Edward at the 28th ISQua conference in Hong Kong was informed by a study to determine the association between health workforce capacity and quality of care in primary care facilities providing a basic package of health services (BPHS) in Afghanistan.
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Can community health workers increase coverage of reproductive health services?

Future Health Systems

Health services were severely affected during the many years of instability and conflict in Afghanistan. In recent years, substantial increases in the coverage of reproductive health services have been achieved, yet absolute levels of coverage remain very low, especially in rural areas. One strategy for increasing use of reproductive health services is deploying community health workers (CHWs) to promote the use of services within the community and at health facilities. Results show that presence of a female CHW in the community is associated with higher use of modern contraception, antenatal care services and skilled birth attendants but presence of a male CHW is not. Community-level random effects were also significant.
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Understanding pathways for scaling up health services through the lens of complex adaptive systems

Future Health Systems

Despite increased prominence and funding of global health initiatives, efforts to scale up health services in developing countries are falling short of the expectations of the Millennium Development Goals. Arguing that the dominant assumptions for scaling up are inadequate, we propose that interpreting change in health systems through the lens of complex adaptive systems (CAS) provides better models of pathways for scaling up.
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