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Reaching the Poor with Health, Nutrition, and Population Services : What Works, What Doesn't, and Why


Author Info

  • Davidson R. Gwatkin
  • Adam Wagstaff
  • Abdo S. Yazbeck


Health services can make an important contribution to improved health conditions among disadvantaged groups. Yet as the contents of this volume make clear, the health services supported by governments, and by agencies like ours too often fail to reach these people who need them most. This is not acceptable. Nor need it be accepted. The studies presented here point to numerous strategies that can help health programs reach the poor much more effectively than at present. In doing so, they strongly reinforce the messages of the 2004 World Development Report and other recent publications about the importance and possibility of making services work better for poor people. Different views will be formed about which of the strategies are most promising for a particular setting-whether, for example, one would be best advised to follow Brazil's approach of seeking universal coverage for basic health services, Cambodia's strategy of contracting with non-governmental organizations, Nepal's use of participatory program development, or some other approach. The report provides a discussion on issues like these, in order to build upon the important basic findings presented herewith, i.e., that better performance is possible. In brief, better performance in reaching the poor is both needed and feasible. These are the two messages from this report that will be discussed further.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by The World Bank in its series World Bank Publications with number 7393 and published in 2005.

ISBN: 978-0-8213-5961-7
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:7393

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Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
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Related research

Keywords: Poverty Reduction - Poverty and Health Health Economics and Finance Social Development - Social Capital Health; Nutrition and Population - Population Policies Health; Nutrition and Population - Health and Poverty Health; Nutrition and Population;


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Cited by:
  1. David Epstein & Dolores Jiménez-Rubio & Peter C. Smith & Marc Suhrcke, 2009. "Social determinants of health: an economic perspective," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 495-502.
  2. Grant Miller & Diana Pinto & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2013. "Risk Protection, Service Use, and Health Outcomes under Colombia's Health Insurance Program for the Poor," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 61-91, October.
  3. Ridde, Valéry & Yaogo, Maurice & Kafando, Yamba & Kadio, Kadidiatou & Ouedraogo, Moctar & Bicaba, Abel & Haddad, Slim, 2011. "Targeting the worst-off for free health care: A process evaluation in Burkina Faso," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 333-342, November.
  4. Tannahill, Carol & Sridharan, Sanjeev, 2013. "Getting real about policy and practice needs: Evaluation as a bridge between the problem and solution space," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 157-164.
  5. Johns, Benjamin & Steinhardt, Laura & Walker, Damian G. & Peters, David H. & Bishai, David, 2013. "Horizontal equity and efficiency at primary health care facilities in rural Afghanistan: A seemingly unrelated regression approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 25-31.
  6. Abdo S. Yazbeck, 2009. "Attacking Inequality in the Health Sector : A Synthesis of Evidence and Tools," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, The World Bank, number 2583, August.
  7. Mollie Fair, 2008. "From Population Lending to HNP Results : The Evolution of the World Bank's Strategies in Health, Nutrition and Population," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, The World Bank, number 6406, February.


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