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Soc Sci Med. 2002 Jun;54(11):1685-90.

Improving basic health service delivery in low-income countries: 'voice' to the poor.

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UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, Italy.


Public social services, such as basic health care, represent the effective option for the poor, especially in the rural areas of low-income countries. The quality of such services are at present extremely deficient, largely due to resource constraints and lack of political will to make them function effectively. The state can no longer provide the comprehensive services it has in the past and which were highly successful in a number of 'high-achieving' developing countries. Yet, the state must turn priority attention to providing public services for the poor, in order to close the widening gap between rich and poor. It needs to do this in partnership with the population it aims to reach, through effective linkage with grass-roots organizations and with the support of non-governmental organizations. Giving 'voice' and participation to the population can not only increase the resource base for public services, but can also significantly improve the accountability of providers and lead to a cost-effective option for the poor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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