Learning from Economic Downturns: How to Better Assess, Track, and Mitigate the Impact on the Health Sector

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 6, 2013

Learning from Economic Downturns : How to Better Assess, Track, and Mitigate the Impact on the Health Sector, by Hou, Xiaohui; Velényi, Edit V.; Yazbeck, Abdo S.; Iunes, Roberto F.; Smith, Owen. October 4, 2013]

“Many countries around the world are moving toward universal health coverage, while navigating through periods of economic crisis. The impact of the economic downturn of 2008-09 on the health care sector has renewed efforts to make health systems more resilient during and after economic downturns. Health policy makers and development practitioners are grappling with how to better identify areas that make the health sector vulnerable to economic downturns, and how to track and mitigate the impact of economic downturns. To effectively manage the challenges resulting from economic uncertainty, the health sector must look at recent failures and successes as a learning opportunity for improvement, with the end result being greater health system resilience. This book, financed by the rapid social response program at the World Bank, responds to these challenges facing the health sector. It introduces a framework for assessing, tracking, and mitigating (A.T.M. framework) the impact of economic downturns on the health sector. This framework provides policy makers and practitioners in the health sector with a more systematic way to design and implement policies that can protect people, particularly the poor, from the negative effects of economic downturns. This book illustrates the benefit of implementing rapid surveys to track the impacts of crises in real time as economies shrink, and emphasizes the importance of building effective health information systems that can regularly monitor system changes. Analysis of several country case studies in developing countries sheds light on the importance of linking the health sector with the social protection sector, particularly social safety nets, using the common identification and targeting methods to reach the poor and the vulnerable. The more recent lessons from several European Union (EU) countries emphasize the importance of political economy in implementing policy reforms during economic downturns and again illustrate how the data can help facilitate more evidence-based policy making.”

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