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Legacies of primary health care in an age of health sector reform: Vietnam's commune clinics in transition

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  • Fritzen, Scott A.

Abstract

Developing countries that were early, enthusiastic adopters of primary health care often developed an extensive--but eventually dilapidated and under utilized--network of public clinics at the grassroots. As paradigms and investment patterns of health sector reform have shifted, the question of what role these public clinics can meaningfully play, and how best to revitalize them, has become important in a number of countries. This paper evaluates the strategy taken by, and outcomes of, a major attempt in Vietnam to revitalize the grassroots infrastructure of primary health care against the backdrop of the country's economic transition. The project's substantial supply-side investments in infrastructure led to marginal increases in utilization and the quality of preventive health services provided by the centers. But because the project failed to take adequate stock of broader, public sector-wide trends and reforms over the transition, the investments had little impact on the incentives, accountability patterns and capacities of clinic staff and the local authorities. Such institutional factors are heavily implicated, in Vietnam as elsewhere, in the substantial and often increasing disparities in service access and quality that continue to afflict transitional health sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Fritzen, Scott A., 2007. "Legacies of primary health care in an age of health sector reform: Vietnam's commune clinics in transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 1611-1623, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:64:y:2007:i:8:p:1611-1623
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ensor, Tim, 2004. "Informal payments for health care in transition economies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 237-246, January.
    2. Litvack, Jennie I. & Bodart, Claude, 1993. "User fees plus quality equals improved access to health care: Results of a field experiment in Cameroon," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 369-383, August.
    3. Franco, Lynne Miller & Bennett, Sara & Kanfer, Ruth, 2002. "Health sector reform and public sector health worker motivation: a conceptual framework," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 1255-1266, April.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:11:1864-1874_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. World Bank, 2001. "Growing Healthy : A Review of Vietnam's Health Sector," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15512, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wagstaff, Adam, 2011. "Fungibility and the impact of development assistance: Evidence from Vietnam's health sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 62-73, January.
    2. Samuel S. Lieberman & Adam Wagstaff, 2009. "Health Financing and Delivery in Vietnam : Looking Forward," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2594.

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