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Washington, DC, United States

Background: Global health equity strategists have previously focused much on differences across countries. At first glance, the global health gap appears to result primarily from disparities between the developing and developed regions. We examine how much of this disparity could be attributed to within-country disparities in developing nations. Methods. We used data from Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 1995 and 2010 in 67 developing countries. Using a population attributable risk approach, we computed the proportion of global under-five mortality gap and the absolute number of under-five deaths that would be reduced if the under-five mortality rate in each of these 67 countries was lowered to the level of the top 10% economic group in each country. As a sensitivity check, we also conducted comparable calculations using top 5% and the top 20% economic group. Results: In 2007, approximately 6.6 million under-five deaths were observed in the 67 countries used in the analysis. This could be reduced to only 600,000 deaths if these countries had the same under-five mortality rate as developed countries. If the under-five mortality rate was lowered to the rate among the top 10% economic group in each of these countries, under-five deaths would be reduced to 3.7 million. This corresponds to a 48% reduction in the global mortality gap and 2.9 million under-five deaths averted. Using cutoff points of top 5% and top 20% economic groups showed reduction of 37% and 56% respectively in the global mortality gap. With these cutoff points, respectively 2.3 and 3.4 million under-five deaths would be averted. Conclusion: Under-five mortality disparities within developing countries account for roughly half of the global gap between developed and developing countries. Thus, within-country inequities deserve as much consideration as do inequalities between the world's developing and developed regions. © 2014Amouzou et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. ©2014 Amouzou et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Reich M.R.,Harvard University | Harris J.,Boston University | Ikegami N.,Keio University | Maeda A.,The World Bank | And 4 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2016

In recent years, many countries have adopted universal health coverage (UHC) as a national aspiration. In response to increasing demand for a systematic assessment of global experiences with UHC, the Government of Japan and the World Bank collaborated on a 2-year multicountry research programme to analyse the processes of moving towards UHC. The programme included 11 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam), representing diverse geographical, economic, and historical contexts. The study identified common challenges and opportunities and useful insights for how to move towards UHC. The study showed that UHC is a complex process, fraught with challenges, many possible pathways, and various pitfalls - but is also feasible and achievable. Movement towards UHC is a long-term policy engagement that needs both technical knowledge and political know-how. Technical solutions need to be accompanied by pragmatic and innovative strategies that address the national political economy context. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Kaddar M.,World Health Organization | Schmitt S.,World Health Organization | Makinen M.,Results for Development Institute | Milstien J.,University of Maryland Baltimore County
Vaccine | Year: 2013

Middle-income countries (MICs) as a group are not only characterized by a wide range of gross national income (GNI) per capita (US $1026 to $12,475), but also by diversity in size, geography, governance, and infrastructure. They include the largest and smallest countries of the world-including 16 landlocked developing countries, 27 small island developing states, and 17 least developed countries-and have a significant diversity in burden of vaccine-preventable diseases. Given the growth in the number of MICs and their considerable domestic income disparities, they are now home to the greatest proportion of the world's poor, having more inhabitants below the poverty line than low-income countries (LICs). However, they have little or no access to external funding for the implementation of new vaccines, nor are they benefiting from an enabling global environment. The MICs are thus not sustainably introducing new life-saving vaccines at the same rate as donor-funded LICs or wealthier countries. The global community, through World Health Assembly resolutions and the inclusion of MIC issues in several recent studies and important documents-including the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) for the Decade of Vaccines-has acknowledged the sub-optimal situations in some MICs and is actively seeking to enhance the situation by expanding support to these countries. This report documents some of the activities already going on in a subset of MICs, including strengthening of national regulatory authorities and national immunization technical advisory groups, and development of comprehensive multi-year plans. However, some additional tools developed for LICs could prove useful to MICs and thus should be adapted for use by them. In addition, new approaches need to be developed to support MIC-specific needs. It is clear that no one solution will address the needs of this diverse group. We suggest tailored interventions in the four categories of evidence and capacity-building, policy and advocacy, financing, and procurement and supply chain. For MICs to have comparable rates of introduction as other wealthier countries and to contribute to the global fight against vaccine-preventable diseases, global partners must implement a coordinated and pragmatic intervention strategy in accord with their competitive advantage. This will require political will, joint planning, and additional modest funding. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Lewis T.,Results for Development Institute | Lagomarsino G.,Results for Development Institute | Schweitzer J.,Results for Development Institute
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | Year: 2012

Objective To describe how information communication technology (ICT) is being used by programmes that seek to improve private sector health financing and delivery in low- and middle-income countries, including the main uses of the technology and the types of technologies being used. Methods In-country partners in 16 countries directly searched systematically for innovative health programmes and compiled profiles in the Center for Health Market Innovations' database. These data were supplemented through literature reviews and with self-reported data supplied by the programmes themselves. Findings In many low- and middle-income countries, ICT is being increasingly employed for different purposes in various health-related areas. Of ICT-enabled health programmes, 42% use it to extend geographic access to health care, 38% to improve data management and 31% to facilitate communication between patients and physicians outside the physician's office. Other purposes include improving diagnosis and treatment (17%), mitigating fraud and abuse (8%) and streamlining financial transactions (4%). The most common devices used in technology-enabled programmes are phones and computers; 71% and 39% of programmes use them, respectively, and the most common applications are voice (34%), software (32%) and text messages (31%). Donors are the primary funders of 47% of ICT-based health programmes. Conclusion Various types of ICT are being employed by private organizations to address key health system challenges. For successful implementation, however, more sustainable sources of funding, greater support for the adoption of new technologies and better ways of evaluating impact are required.

Makinen M.,Results for Development Institute | Kaddar M.,World Health Organization | Wilson L.,Results for Development Institute
Health Policy and Planning | Year: 2012

Objectives Lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) are lagging behind both high-income and low-income countries in new vaccine adoption. Our study involved the following objectives: (1) understand the decision-making processes of LMICs on new vaccine adoption, (2) identify the factors influencing LMIC decisions, (3) obtain the views of vaccine manufacturers about LMIC markets for new vaccines, and (4) make recommendations concerning how to speed up and improve decision making, including proposing mechanisms for implementation of the recommendations.Methods Collect and analyse qualitative data from participants in decision making in 15 case study countries [12 LMICs and three upper-middle-income countries (UMICs)] and multinational and developing country vaccine manufacturers.Findings Interviews of actors in decision making indicate that the aspects deemed most important for adoption are: World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, the existence of local epidemiological data and a set of factors comprising affordability, cost-effectiveness and overall cost of the new vaccine for the programme. National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAG) have a key role in advising decision-makers, although their resources and capacity vary. Country decision-makers and manufacturers both see advantages in pooled procurement mechanisms for vaccine purchasing. Recommendations for countries and the international community involve assisting with making epidemiological data and vaccine market information accessible to countries, building and reinforcing related analysis capacity, and assisting with purchasing mechanisms and practices such as pooled procurement. © World Health Organization 2012. All rights reserved.

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