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