|Health Economics for Developing Countries: A Survival Kit (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 1998, 134 p.)|
Governments have accepted the goal of Health For All by the year 2000, but its achievement requires that resources are made available to national health systems and are used efficiently. Economic recession has exacerbated the problems of financing the health sector in many countries, yet the funds that are available within the health sector are not always used in ways that will have the maximum impact on the populations health.
Health economics is increasingly recognized as a discipline that has much to offer developing countries in addressing these problems, but how can it help? What economic concepts and tools can be applied to the health sector? A wider understanding of the discipline is required if it is to support health sectors, rather than remaining the preserve of a few specialists.
This publication provides an introduction to health economics for health professionals and students with no previous economic background. It aims to present basic economic concepts in a clear manner and to demonstrate their potential application to the health sector, particularly within developing countries.
Following an introduction to health economics and its contribution to health planning, six main areas are addressed:
- Economic development and health
- The role of the state in health care provision
- Economic evaluation concepts and techniques
- Economic information relevant to the health sector and its sources
- Health financing issues
- Financial planning and budgeting.
This publication can provide only an outline of the corpus of health economics, to whet the reader's appetite. It is, therefore, supplemented by an extensive bibliography that will enable the interested reader to pursue any of the topics discussed. A glossary of economic terms completes this health economics survival kit.
Interested readers should, in addition, refer to a basic economic textbook for the principal concepts that are discussed (e.g. Culyer, AJ Economics Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1985), and to a health economics textbook for their application to the health sector (e.g. Cullis JG and West PA The Economics of Health: An introduction Martin Robertson 1979 or McGuire A, Henderson J and Mooney G The Economics of Health Care Routledge and Kegan Paul 1988).
The material in this publication was first developed as background reading for a short course on health economics and health financing in developing countries. A companion volume is being produced, in the form of a loose-leaf file, containing the course objectives, programme and exercises. It is intended to assist those wishing either to develop their own courses or to improve their health economics understanding by working through the exercises.