IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The performance of different models of primary care provision in Southern Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Mills, Anne
  • Palmer, Natasha
  • Gilson, Lucy
  • McIntyre, Di
  • Schneider, Helen
  • Sinanovic, Edina
  • Wadee, Haroon
Registered author(s):

    Despite the emphasis placed during the last two decades on public delivery of comprehensive and equitable primary care (PC) to developing country populations, coverage remains far from universal and the quality often poor. Users frequently patronise private providers, ranging from informal drug sellers to trained professionals. Interest is increasing internationally in the potential for making better use of private providers, including contractual approaches. The research aim was to examine the performance of different models of PC provision, in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of a government wishing to develop an overall strategy for improving PC provision. Models evaluated were: (a) South African general practitioners (district surgeons) providing services under public contracts; (b) clinics provided in Lesotho under a sub-contract between a construction company and a South African health care company; (c) GP services provided through an Independent Practitioner Association to low income insured workers and families; (d) a private clinic chain serving low income insured and uninsured workers and their families; and (e) for comparative purposes, South African public clinics. Performance was analysed in terms of provider cost and quality (of infrastructure, treatment practices, acceptability to patients and communities), allowing for differences in services and case-mix. The diversity of the arrangements made direct comparisons difficult, however, clear differences were identified between the models and conclusions drawn on their relative performance and the influences upon performance. The study findings demonstrate that contextual features strongly influence provider performance, and that a crude public/private comparison is not helpful. Key issues in contract design likely to influence performance are highlighted. Finally, the study argues that there is a need before contracting out service provision to consider how the performance of private providers might change when the context within which they are working changes with the introduction of a contract.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 59 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 5 (September)
    Pages: 931-943

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:5:p:931-943
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:5:p:931-943. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.