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1.
Lancet ; 399(10341): 2129-2154, 2022 06 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1877502

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Human resources for health (HRH) include a range of occupations that aim to promote or improve human health. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the WHO Health Workforce 2030 strategy have drawn attention to the importance of HRH for achieving policy priorities such as universal health coverage (UHC). Although previous research has found substantial global disparities in HRH, the absence of comparable cross-national estimates of existing workforces has hindered efforts to quantify workforce requirements to meet health system goals. We aimed to use comparable and standardised data sources to estimate HRH densities globally, and to examine the relationship between a subset of HRH cadres and UHC effective coverage performance. METHODS: Through the International Labour Organization and Global Health Data Exchange databases, we identified 1404 country-years of data from labour force surveys and 69 country-years of census data, with detailed microdata on health-related employment. From the WHO National Health Workforce Accounts, we identified 2950 country-years of data. We mapped data from all occupational coding systems to the International Standard Classification of Occupations 1988 (ISCO-88), allowing for standardised estimation of densities for 16 categories of health workers across the full time series. Using data from 1990 to 2019 for 196 of 204 countries and territories, covering seven Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) super-regions and 21 regions, we applied spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression (ST-GPR) to model HRH densities from 1990 to 2019 for all countries and territories. We used stochastic frontier meta-regression to model the relationship between the UHC effective coverage index and densities for the four categories of health workers enumerated in SDG indicator 3.c.1 pertaining to HRH: physicians, nurses and midwives, dentistry personnel, and pharmaceutical personnel. We identified minimum workforce density thresholds required to meet a specified target of 80 out of 100 on the UHC effective coverage index, and quantified national shortages with respect to those minimum thresholds. FINDINGS: We estimated that, in 2019, the world had 104·0 million (95% uncertainty interval 83·5-128·0) health workers, including 12·8 million (9·7-16·6) physicians, 29·8 million (23·3-37·7) nurses and midwives, 4·6 million (3·6-6·0) dentistry personnel, and 5·2 million (4·0-6·7) pharmaceutical personnel. We calculated a global physician density of 16·7 (12·6-21·6) per 10 000 population, and a nurse and midwife density of 38·6 (30·1-48·8) per 10 000 population. We found the GBD super-regions of sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and north Africa and the Middle East had the lowest HRH densities. To reach 80 out of 100 on the UHC effective coverage index, we estimated that, per 10 000 population, at least 20·7 physicians, 70·6 nurses and midwives, 8·2 dentistry personnel, and 9·4 pharmaceutical personnel would be needed. In total, the 2019 national health workforces fell short of these minimum thresholds by 6·4 million physicians, 30·6 million nurses and midwives, 3·3 million dentistry personnel, and 2·9 million pharmaceutical personnel. INTERPRETATION: Considerable expansion of the world's health workforce is needed to achieve high levels of UHC effective coverage. The largest shortages are in low-income settings, highlighting the need for increased financing and coordination to train, employ, and retain human resources in the health sector. Actual HRH shortages might be larger than estimated because minimum thresholds for each cadre of health workers are benchmarked on health systems that most efficiently translate human resources into UHC attainment. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Subject(s)
Global Burden of Disease , Universal Health Insurance , Global Health , Humans , Occupations , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Workforce
2.
J Glob Health ; 12: 04035, 2022 May 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1876099

ABSTRACT

Background: Universal Health Coverage (UHC) can be achieved by universal access to a solid and resilient people-centred health care system, with Primary Health Care (PHC) as its foundation and strategy. Increased access to PHC occurs when health care services are available, affordable, accessible, acceptable, and perceived appropriate by users. Many studies highlight that health care workers are critical in helping people access, navigate, and interact with PHC services. How the interventions involving health care staff work and under what circumstance remains unclear. Methods: Through a systematic review and a realist synthesis, we identified and described staff-based interventions impacting UHC through PHC. We conducted the systematic review from inception to June 2021, searching for peer-reviewed studies published in English, using quantitative methods for evaluating interventions. Results: We identified three Context-Mechanism-Outcome (CMO) configurations: inserting culturally sensitive ad hoc bridge figures, tailoring staff practices to the needs of specified populations, and training as a means for staff reskilling. Inserting ad hoc bridge figures in health care services was successful when they were familiar with the contextual culture and the users' needs. The second configuration entails interventions where the staff was asked to consider the needs of targeted populations and differentiate strategies by the detected conditions. Finally, the third one consists of specific, ad hoc, and context-based training targeting several stakeholders. Central to this intervention was training for health care bridge figures, since they were explicitly trained before performing their duties to cope with the health care and social needs of the specific groups they intended to serve. Conclusions: The review highlights that the context and contextual factors should be considered for an intervention to be successful. Hence, it provides policymakers with practical indications for designing staff-based interventions for reaching UHC within PHC services in a given context. Healthcare bridge figures, an umbrella term embracing a variety of selected community health workers, often trained and working in the communities from which they come, increase access to PHC services as they respond to local societal and cultural norms and customs, ensuring community acceptance and ownership.


Subject(s)
Delivery of Health Care , Universal Health Insurance , Community Health Workers , Health Services , Humans , Primary Health Care
3.
BMJ Glob Health ; 7(6)2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1874550

ABSTRACT

Despite Thailand having had universal health coverage (UHC) with comprehensive benefit packages since 2002, services are neither listed nor budget earmarked for COVID-19 responses. Policy decisions were made immediately after the first outbreak in 2020 to fully fund a comprehensive benefit package for COVID-19. The Cabinet approved significant additional budget to respond to the unfolding pandemic. The comprehensive benefit package includes laboratory tests, contact tracing, active case findings, 14-day quarantine measures (including tests, food and lodging), field hospitals, ambulance services for referral, clinical services both at hospitals and in home and community isolation, vaccines and vaccination cost, all without copayment by users. No-fault compensation for adverse events or deaths following vaccination is also provided. Services were purchased from qualified public and private providers using the same rate, terms and conditions. The benefit package applies to everyone living in Thailand including Thai citizens and migrant workers. A standardised and comprehensive COVID-19 benefit package for Thai and non-Thai population without copayment facilitates universal and equitable access to care irrespective of capacity to pay and social status and nationality, all while aiming to supporting pandemic containment. Making essential services available, notably laboratory tests, through the engagement of qualified both public and private sectors boost supply side capacity. These policies and implementations in this paper are useful lessons for other low-income and middle-income countries on how UHC reinforces pandemic containment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Private Sector , Thailand/epidemiology , Universal Health Insurance
4.
Pan Afr Med J ; 41: 159, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1847711

ABSTRACT

The fifth health sector directors´ policy and planning meeting for the World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Africa convened to focus on building health system resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure continuity of essential health services, primary health care (PHC) revitalization, and health system strengthening towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC). In this paper, we present short summaries and experiences shared by 18 countries, for which their practices and outcomes have been documented in this manuscript. These actions are aligned with six key themes: (i) defining and making more essential health services available, (ii) increasing service coverage targeting hard to reach populations, (iii) financial risk protection, (iv) improving user satisfaction with services, (v) improving health security, and (vi) improving coverage with health-related sector services. It is through these shared country experiences that lessons are learned that can influence the region´s work and advancement to achieve UHC through a PHC approach.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Universal Health Insurance , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , World Health Organization
8.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(7)2022 03 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1780027

ABSTRACT

In 1995, Pacific Health Ministers articulated their vision of a healthy Pacific as 'a place where children are nurtured in body and mind; environments invite learning and leisure; people work and age with dignity; where ecological balance is a source of pride; and where the ocean is protected.' Central to this vision is the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC). To provide an indication of the UHC-related priorities of Pacific health authorities and promote alignment of domestic and international investments in health sector development, we thematically analyzed the discussion, resolutions, and recommendations from 5 years (2015-2020) of senior-level Pacific health meetings. Five main themes emerged: (i) the Healthy Islands vision has (and continues to have) a unifying influence on action for UHC; (ii) adoption of appropriate service delivery models that support integrated primary health care at the community level are needed; (iii) human resources for health are critical if efforts to achieve UHC are to be successful; (iv) access to reliable health information is core to health sector improvement; and (v) while not a panacea for all challenges, digital health offers many opportunities. Small and isolated populations, chronic workforce limitations, weak governance arrangements, ageing and inadequate health facilities, and supply chain and logistics difficulties (among other issues) interact to challenge primary health care delivery across the Pacific Islands. We found evidence that the Healthy Islands vision is a tool that garners support for UHC; however, to realize the vision, a realistic understanding of needed political, human resource, and economic investments is required. The significant disruptive effect of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it brings for implementation of the medium- to long-term health development agenda raises concern that progress may stagnate or retreat.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Universal Health Insurance , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Delivery of Health Care , Health Priorities , Humans , Pacific Islands
9.
Front Public Health ; 10: 828318, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776028

ABSTRACT

While many studies have explored the financial barriers to healthcare, there is little evidence regarding the non-financial barriers to healthcare. This study identified characteristics associated with financial and non-financial barriers to healthcare and quantified the effects of these characteristics in South Korea, using a nationally representative longitudinal survey dataset. Overall, 68,930 observations of 16,535 individuals aged 19 years and above were sampled from Korea Health Panel survey data (2014-2018). From self-reported information about respondents' experiences of unmet healthcare needs, a trichotomous dependent variable-no barrier, non-financial barrier, and financial barrier-was derived. Sociodemographics, physical and health conditions were included as explanatory variables. The average adjusted probability (AAP) of experiencing each barrier was predicted using multivariable and panel multinomial logistic regression analyses. According to the results, the percentage of people experiencing non-financial barriers was much higher than that of people experiencing financial barriers in 2018 (9.6 vs. 2.5%). Women showed higher AAPs of experiencing both non-financial (9.9 vs. 8.3%) and financial barriers (3.6 vs. 2.5%) than men. Men living in the Seoul metropolitan area showed higher AAPs of experiencing non-financial (8.7 vs. 8.0%) and financial barriers (3.4 vs. 2.1%) than those living outside it. Household income showed no significant associations in the AAP of experiencing a non-financial barrier. People with a functional limitation exhibited a higher AAP of experiencing a non-financial barrier, for both men (17.8 vs. 7.8%) and women (17.4 vs. 9.0%), than those without it. In conclusion, people in South Korea, like those in most European countries, fail to meet their healthcare needs more often due to non-financial barriers than financial barriers. In addition, the characteristics associated with non-financial barriers to healthcare differed from those associated with financial barriers. This finding suggests that although financial barriers may be minimised through various policies, a considerable degree of unmet healthcare needs and disparity among individuals is very likely to persist due to non-financial barriers. Therefore, current universal health insurance systems need targeted policy instruments to minimise non-financial barriers to healthcare to ensure effective universal health coverage.


Subject(s)
Health Services Accessibility , Universal Health Insurance , Adult , Female , Health Surveys , Humans , Male , Republic of Korea , Universal Health Insurance/economics , Young Adult
10.
Front Public Health ; 10: 738146, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775967

ABSTRACT

China has achieved universal social health insurance coverage, but it is unclear whether this has alleviated the economic burden of disease for individuals. This was investigated in the present study by analyzing National Health Service Survey (2008-2018) data from Jiangsu province. Ordinary least squares and binary multivariate logistic regression of pooled cross-sectional data were carried out to evaluate the effect of universal health insurance coverage and other socioeconomic factors on the economic burden of disease. Total health expenses (THE) first increased and then decreased during the survey period while out-of-pocket health expenses (OOP) decreased except for urban residents, for whom OOP increased after 2013. Household catastrophic health expenditure (HCHE) was stable between 2008 and 2013 but increased after 2013. Social health insurance had a significant positive effect on the annual THE and OOP and a negative effect on HCHE, however, universal health insurance coverage could alleviated THE and the economic burden of disease on individuals (OOP) while it was insufficient to protect against the economic risk of diseases (HCHE), with greater benefits for urban as compared to rural residents. Other socioeconomic factors including age, marital status, education, income, and health status also influenced the economic burden of disease.


Subject(s)
State Medicine , China/epidemiology , Cost of Illness , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Universal Health Insurance
11.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0265570, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753201

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Mental, neurological and substance use conditions lead to tremendous suffering, yet globally access to effective care is limited. In line with the 13th General Programme of Work (GPW 13), in 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health: Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health to advance mental health policies, advocacy, and human rights and to scale up access to quality and affordable care for people living with mental health conditions. Six countries were selected as 'early-adopter' countries for the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health in the initial phase. Our objective was to rapidly and comprehensively assess the strength of mental health systems in each country with the goal of informing national priority-setting at the outset of the Initiative. METHODS: We used a modified version of the Program for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME) situational analysis tool. We used a participatory process to document national demographic and population health characteristics; environmental, sociopolitical, and health-related threats; the status of mental health policies and plans; the prevalence of mental disorders and treatment coverage; and the availability of resources for mental health. RESULTS: Each country had distinct needs, though several common themes emerged. Most were dealing with crises with serious implications for population mental health. None had sufficient mental health services to meet their needs. All aimed to decentralize and deinstitutionalize mental health services, to integrate mental health care into primary health care, and to devote more financial and human resources to mental health systems. All cited insufficient and inequitably distributed specialist human resources for mental health as a major impediment. CONCLUSIONS: This rapid assessment facilitated priority-setting for mental health system strengthening by national stakeholders. Next steps include convening design workshops in each country and initiating monitoring and evaluation procedures.


Subject(s)
Mental Health , Universal Health Insurance , Bangladesh , Humans , Jordan , Paraguay , Philippines , Ukraine , World Health Organization , Zimbabwe
12.
Lancet Glob Health ; 10(3): e390-e397, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1747373

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Universal health coverage is one of the WHO End TB Strategy priority interventions and could be achieved-particularly in low-income and middle-income countries-through the expansion of primary health care. We evaluated the effects of one of the largest primary health-care programmes in the world, the Brazilian Family Health Strategy (FHS), on tuberculosis morbidity and mortality using a nationwide cohort of 7·3 million individuals over a 10-year study period. METHODS: We analysed individuals who entered the 100 Million Brazilians Cohort during the period Jan 1, 2004, to Dec 31, 2013, and compared residents in municipalities with no FHS coverage with residents in municipalities with full FHS coverage. We used a cohort design with multivariable Poisson regressions, adjusted for all relevant demographic and socioeconomic variables and weighted with inverse probability of treatment weighting, to estimate the effect of FHS on tuberculosis incidence, mortality, cure, and case fatality. We also performed a range of stratifications and sensitivity analyses. FINDINGS: FHS exposure was associated with lower tuberculosis incidence (rate ratio [RR] 0·78, 95% CI 0·72-0·84) and mortality (0·72, 0·55-0·94), and was positively associated with tuberculosis cure rates (1·04, 1·00-1·08). FHS was also associated with a decrease in tuberculosis case-fatality rates, although this was not statistically significant (RR 0·84, 95% CI 0·55-1·30). FHS associations were stronger among the poorest individuals for all the tuberculosis indicators. INTERPRETATION: Community-based primary health care could strongly reduce tuberculosis morbidity and mortality and decrease the unequal distribution of the tuberculosis burden in the most vulnerable populations. During the current marked rise in global poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in primary health care could help protect against the expected increases in tuberculosis incidence worldwide and contribute to the attainment of the End TB Strategy goals. FUNDING: TB Modelling and Analysis Consortium (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Wellcome Trust, and Brazilian Ministry of Health. TRANSLATION: For the Portuguese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.


Subject(s)
Community Health Services/statistics & numerical data , Primary Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Tuberculosis/epidemiology , Tuberculosis/therapy , Universal Health Insurance/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Age Distribution , Brazil/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Community Health Services/methods , Female , Humans , Incidence , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Poverty/statistics & numerical data , Primary Health Care/methods , Young Adult
13.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(6)2022 03 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742438

ABSTRACT

Despite impressive progress, nearly two billion people worldwide have no access to essential medicines. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed Africa's vulnerability due to its reliance on imports for most vaccines, medicines, and other health product needs. The vaccine manufacturing is complex and requires massive financial investments, with global, regional, and national regulatory structures introducing consistent and urgent reforms to assure the quality and safety of medicines. In 2020, there were approximately 600 pharmaceutical manufacturers in Africa, 80% of which were concentrated in eight countries: Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. Only 4 countries had more than 50 manufacturers, while 22 countries had no local production. Out of the 600, around 25% were multinational companies. Africa is equally affected by modest scaled capacities substantially engaging in packaging and labelling, and occasionally fill and finish steps, facing criticalities in terms of solvent domestic markets. This article discusses the challenges in the development of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa and reflects on the importance of the momentum for strengthening the local medical production capacity in the continent as a critical opportunity for advancing universal health coverage (UHC).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drugs, Essential , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Nigeria , Pandemics , Universal Health Insurance
15.
Global Health ; 18(1): 13, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1676246

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The pandemic situation due to COVID-19 highlighted the importance of global health security preparedness and response. Since the revision of the International Health Regulations (IHR) in 2005, Joint External Evaluation (JEE) and States Parties Self-Assessment Annual Reporting (SPAR) have been adopted to track the IHR implementation stage in each country. While national IHR core capacities support the concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), there have been limited studies verifying the relationship between the two concepts. This study aimed to investigate empirically the association between IHR core capacity scores and the UHC service coverage index. METHOD: JEE score, SPAR score and UHC service coverage index data from 96 countries were collected and analyzed using an ecological study design. The independent variable was IHR core capacity scores, measured by JEE 2016-2019 and SPAR 2019 from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the dependent variable, UHC service coverage index, was extracted from the 2019 UHC monitoring report. For examining the association between IHR core capacities and the UHC service coverage index, Spearman's correlation analysis was used. The correlation between IHR core capacities and UHC index was demonstrated using a scatter plot between JEE score and UHC service coverage index, and the SPAR score and UHC service coverage index were also presented. RESULT: While the correlation value between JEE and SPAR was 0.92 (p < 0.001), the countries' external evaluation scores were lower than their self-evaluation scores. Some areas such as available human resources and points of entry were mismatched between JEE and SPAR. JEE was associated with the UHC score (r = 0.85, p < 0.001) and SPAR was also associated with the UHC service coverage index (r = 0.81, p < 0.001). The JEE and SPAR scores showed a significant positive correlation with the UHC service coverage index after adjusting for several confounding variables. CONCLUSION: The study result supports the premise that strengthening national health security capacities would in turn contribute to the achievement of UHC. With the help of the empirical result, it would further guide each country for better implementation of IHR.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , International Health Regulations , Humans , International Cooperation , SARS-CoV-2 , Universal Health Insurance
17.
Health Syst Reform ; 8(1): e2006587, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642260

ABSTRACT

Expanding service coverage and achieving universal health coverage (UHC) is a priority for many low- and middle-income countries. Though UHC is a long-term goal, its importance and relevance have only increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first step on the road to UHC is to define and develop essential packages of health services (EPHSs), a list of clinical and public health services that a government has deemed a priority and is to provide. However, the nature of these lists of services in low- and lower-middle-income countries is largely unknown. This study examines the contents of 45 countries' EPHSs to determine the inclusion of essential UHC (EUHC) services as defined by the Disease Control Priorities, which comprises 21 specific essential packages of interventions. EPHSs were collected from publicly available sources and their contents were analyzed in two stages, firstly, to determine the level of specificity and detail of the content of EPHSs and, secondly, to determine which essential UHC services were included. Findings show that there are large variations in the level of specificity among EPHSs and that though EUHC services are included to a large extent, variations exist regarding which services are included between countries. The results provide an overview of how countries are designing EPHSs as a policy tool and are progressing toward providing a full range of EUHC services. Additionally, the study introduces new tools and methods for UHC policy analysts and researchers to study the contents of EPHSs in future investigations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Universal Health Insurance , Developing Countries , Health Services , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
19.
J Health Polit Policy Law ; 47(1): 1-25, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604881

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: The United States is the only high-income country that relies on employer-sponsored health coverage to insure a majority of its population. Millions of Americans lost employer-sponsored health insurance during the COVID-19-induced economic downturn. We examine public opinion toward universal health coverage policies in this context. METHODS: Through a survey of 1,211 Americans in June 2020, we examine the influence of health insurance loss on support for Medicare for All (M4A) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in two ways. First, we examine associations between pandemic-related health insurance loss and M4A support. Second, we experimentally prime some respondents with a vignette of a sympathetic person who lost employer-sponsored coverage during COVID-19. FINDINGS: We find that directly experiencing recent health insurance loss is strongly associated (10 pp, p < 0.01) with greater M4A support and with more favorable views of extending the ACA (19.3 pp, p < 0.01). Experimental exposure to the vignette increases M4A support by 6 pp (p = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, situational framings can induce modest change in support for M4A. However, real-world health insurance losses are associated with larger differences in support for M4A and with greater support for existing safety net policies such as the ACA.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Policy , Humans , Insurance Coverage , Insurance, Health , Medicare , Pandemics , Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine , United States , Universal Health Insurance
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