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Mueang Nonthaburi, Thailand

Doherty J.,International Health Policy Program | Tangcharoensathien V.,University of Witwatersrand
Health Research Policy and Systems | Year: 2012

Objectives: To review and assess (i) the factors that facilitate the development of sustainable health policy analysis institutes in low and middle income countries and (ii) the nature of external support for capacity development provided to such institutes.Methods: Comparative case studies of six health policy analysis institutes (3 from Asia and 3 from Africa) were conducted. In each region an NGO institute, an institute linked to government and a university based institute were included. Data collection comprised document review, semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and discussion of preliminary findings with institute staff.Findings: The findings are organized around four key themes: (i) Financial resources: three of the institutes had received substantial external grants at start-up, however two of these institutes subsequently collapsed. At all but one institute, reliance upon short term, donor funding, created high administrative costs and unpredictability. (ii) Human resources: the retention of skilled human resources was perceived to be key to institute success but was problematic at all but one institute. In particular staff often moved to better paid positions elsewhere once having acquired necessary skills and experience, leaving remaining senior staff with heavy workloads. (iii) Governance and management: board structures and roles varied according to the nature of institute ownership. Boards made important contributions to organizational capacity through promoting continuity, independence and fund raising. Routine management systems were typically perceived to be strong. (iv) Networks: linkages to policy makers helped promote policy influences. External networks with other research organizations, particularly where these were longer term institutional collaborations helped promote capacity.Conclusions: The development of strong in-country analytical and research capacity to guide health policy development is critical, yet many health policy analysis institutes remain very fragile. A combination of more strategic planning, active recruitment and retention strategies, and longer term, flexible funding, for example through endowments, needs to be promoted. Specific recommendations to funders and institutes are provided. © 2012 Bennett et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Rasanathan K.,World Health Organization | Posayanonda T.,National Health Commission Office | Birmingham M.,World Health Organization | Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program
Health Expectations | Year: 2012

Aim This paper aims to describe and disseminate the process and initial outcomes of the first National Health Assembly (NHA) in Thailand, as an innovative example of health policy making. Setting The first NHA, held in December 2008 in Bangkok, brought together over 1500 people from government agencies, academia, civil society, health professionals and the private sector to discuss key health issues and produce resolutions to guide policy making. It adapted the approach used at the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization. Method Findings are derived from a literature review, document analysis, and the views and experiences of the authors, two of whom contributed to the organization of the NHA and two of whom were invited external observers. Results Fourteen agenda items were discussed and resolutions passed. Potential early impacts on policy making have included an increase in the 2010 public budget for Thailand's universal health coverage scheme as total public expenditure has decreased; cabinet endorsement of proposed Strategies for Universal Access to Medicines for Thai People; and establishment of National Commissions on Health Impact Assessment and Trade and Health. Discussion The NHA was successful in bringing together various actors and sectors involved in the social production of health, including groups often marginalized in policy making. It provides an innovative model of how governments may be able to increase public participation and intersectoral collaboration that could be adapted in other contexts. Significant challenges remain in ensuring full participation of interested groups and in implementing, and monitoring the impact of, the resolutions passed. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Moodie R.,University of Melbourne | Stuckler D.,University of Cambridge | Monteiro C.,University of Sao Paulo | Sheron N.,University of Southampton | And 4 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2013

The 2011 UN high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) called for multisectoral action including with the private sector and industry. However, through the sale and promotion of tobacco, alcohol, and ultra-processed food and drink (unhealthy commodities), transnational corporations are major drivers of global epidemics of NCDs. What role then should these industries have in NCD prevention and control? We emphasise the rise in sales of these unhealthy commodities in low-income and middle-income countries, and consider the common strategies that the transnational corporations use to undermine NCD prevention and control. We assess the effectiveness of selfregulation, public-private partnerships, and public regulation models of interaction with these industries and conclude that unhealthy commodity industries should have no role in the formation of national or international NCD policy. Despite the common reliance on industry self-regulation and public-private partnerships, there is no evidence of their effectiveness or safety. Public regulation and market intervention are the only evidence-based mechanisms to prevent harm caused by the unhealthy commodity industries.

Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program
Health research policy and systems / BioMed Central | Year: 2013

Empirical evidence demonstrates that the Thai Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) has improved equity of health financing and provided a relatively high level of financial risk protection. Several UCS design features contribute to these outcomes: a tax-financed scheme, a comprehensive benefit package and gradual extension of coverage to illnesses that can lead to catastrophic household costs, and capacity of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to mobilise adequate resources. This study assesses the policy processes related to making decisions on these features. The study employs qualitative methods including reviews of relevant documents, in-depth interviews of 25 key informants, and triangulation amongst information sources. Continued political and financial commitments to the UCS, despite political rivalry, played a key role. The Thai Rak Thai (TRT)-led coalition government introduced UCS; staying in power 8 of the 11 years between 2001 and 2011 was long enough to nurture and strengthen the UCS and overcome resistance from various opponents. Prime Minister Surayud's government, replacing the ousted TRT government, introduced universal renal replacement therapy, which deepened financial risk protection.Commitment to their manifesto and fiscal capacity pushed the TRT to adopt a general tax-financed universal scheme; collecting premiums from people engaged in the informal sector was neither politically palatable nor technically feasible. The relatively stable tenure of NHSO Secretary Generals and the chairs of the Financing and the Benefit Package subcommittees provided a platform for continued deepening of financial risk protection. NHSO exerted monopsonistic purchasing power to control prices, resulting in greater patient access and better systems efficiency than might have been the case with a different design.The approach of proposing an annual per capita budget changed the conventional line-item programme budgeting system by basing negotiations between the Bureau of Budget, the NHSO and other stakeholders on evidence of service utilization and unit costs. Future success of Thai UCS requires coverage of effective interventions that address primary and secondary prevention of non-communicable diseases and long-term care policies in view of epidemiologic and demographic transitions. Lessons for other countries include the importance of continued political support, evidence informed decisions, and a capable purchaser organization.

Garg C.C.,Global Health | Dmytraczenko T.,The World Bank | Izazola-Licea J.-A.,National Center for Prevention and Control of Mexicos Federal Ministry of Health | Tangcharoensathien V.,International Health Policy Program
Health Affairs | Year: 2012

Donor nations and philanthropic organizations increasingly require that funds provided for a specific health priority such as HIV should supplement domestic spending on that priority-a concept known as "additionality." We investigated the "additionality" concept using data from Honduras, Rwanda, and Thailand, and we found that the three countries increased funding for HIV in response to increased donor funding. In contrast, the study revealed that donors, faced with increased Global Fund resources for HIV in certain countries, tended to decrease their funding for HIV or shift funds for use in non-HIV health areas. More broadly, we found many problems in the measurement and interpretation of additionality. These findings suggest that it would be preferable for donors and countries to agree on how best to use available domestic and external funds to improve population health, and to develop better means of tracking outcomes, than to try to develop more sophisticated methods to track additionality. © 2012 Project HOPE-The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

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