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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48457. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048457. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

The scale of faith based organization participation in health service delivery in developing countries: systematic [corrected] review and meta-analysis.

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Global Health Group, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.

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  • PLoS One. 2012;7(11). doi: 10.1371/annotation/1e80554b-4f8a-4381-97f1-46bf72cd07c9.


The extent of faith-based organizations' participation within the overall health systems of developing countries is unclear. Recent reports state that faith-based organizations play a substantial role in providing healthcare in developing countries, cited in some publications as up to 70% of all healthcare services. The data behind these numbers are sometimes difficult to pinpoint and seem at odds to national and regional survey data. In an effort to quantify the contribution of faith-based organizations to healthcare delivery in low- and middle-income countries, we undertook a systematic review of the literature and conducted a new analysis of relevant Demographic and Health Survey data from 47 countries. Our findings demonstrate that the magnitude of healthcare provided by faith-based organizations may be lower than previously estimated. Understanding the scale of FBO-provided medical care is important for health sector planning, and more accurate and complete estimates are needed.

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