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Health Policy Plan. 1996 Jun;11(2):142-55.

The role of private providers in maternal and child health and family planning services in developing countries.

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  • 1Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.

Abstract

This paper uses data from the Demographic and Health Surveys program (DHS) in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to explore the contribution of private health care providers to population coverage with a variety of maternal and child health and family planning services. The choice of countries and services assessed was mainly determined by the availability of data in the different surveys. Private providers contribute significantly to family planning services and treatment of children's infectious diseases in a number of the countries studied. This is as expected from the predictions of economic theory, since these goods are less subject to market failures. For the more 'public goods' type services, such as immunization and ante-natal care, their role is much more circumscribed. Two groups of countries were identified: those with a higher private provision role across many different types of services and those where private provision was limited to only one or two types of the services studied. The analysis identified the lack of consistent or systematic definitions of private providers across countries as well as the absence of data on many key services in most of the DHS surveys. Given the significance of private provision of public health goods in many countries, the authors propose much more systematic efforts to measure these variables in the future. This could be included in future DHS surveys without too much difficulty.

PIP:

Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from 11 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were analyzed in the attempt to understand the contribution of private health care providers to population coverage with a variety of maternal and child health and family planning services. Private providers contribute significantly to family planning services and the treatment of children's infectious diseases in a number of the countries studied. The following groups of countries were identified: those with a higher private provision role across many different types of services and those where private provision was limited to only one or two types of the services studied. The analysis identified the lack of consistent or systematic definitions of private providers across countries as well as the absence of data on many key services in most of the DHS surveys. Given the significance of private provision of public health goods in many countries, the authors propose much more systematic efforts to measure these variables in the future. The appropriate changes could be incorporated in future DHS surveys without too much difficulty.

PMID:
10158456
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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