Financing Health Care in Sub-Saharan Africa

Financing Health Care in Sub-Saharan Africa

Financing Health Care in Sub-Saharan Africa

Financing Health Care in Sub-Saharan Africa

Synopsis

Vogel views health care within the context of total Sub-Saharan economic systems, emphasizing the output of health-care programs (i.e., healthier people) and the most cost-effective ways to maximize that output. He recommends shifting public financing resources from the hospital sector to primary and preventive care, in order to reposition financial resources away from the colonial and post-colonial period of concentration upon cost-ineffective hospitals and toward the direction emphasized by the World Health Organization.

Excerpt

The ultimate purpose of expenditures upon health is to purchase inputs for slowing or retarding the rate of depreciation of the human body and mind; in this respect, health, or "healthy time" has both consumption and investment aspects that are highly pertinent within a developmental context. All other things being equal, a healthy (and educated) population should be able to produce more goods and services over the long run than an unhealthy (and uneducated) population. And, if economic development were to be defined less materialistically than in the preceding sentence, but as an increase in human welfare, then the consumption of more healthy time should increase human welfare.

Expenditures on health can take many forms. At the individual level, they can range from seeking and paying for formal medical care from a highly qualified physician, to making nonmonetary expenditures in time and physical effort upon a self-conducted exercise and fitness program. At the governmental level, they may consist of such diverse activities as offering and trying to supply free formal medical care to all of the population, or of sanitizing drinking water sources, or of providing nutritional information for mothers and their children. Just as the definition of good health can be broad, so too can the definition of the inputs (expenditures) that go into producing or maintaining it. Some of these inputs are medical and some are not, and, as will be shortly shown in the chapters that follow, some are cost-effective and some are not.

It has often been said that health cannot have a price, but as modem medical technology has made rapid and costly advances in recent years, governments and individual families all over the world have painfully begun to learn that financing expenditures upon medical care, as just one of the inputs into producing health, can be quite . . .

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