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Fund primary care in Haiti

World Bank study highlights investments in primary care should be the priority in Haiti’s healthcare service, rather than investing in the construction of expansive hospitals.

A new World Bank study on health in Haiti calls for the Haiti government to switch its focus from building large big hospitals to investing in primary care and preventive medicine. The report is “Better Spending, Better Care: A look at Haiti’s Health Financing”.

The study found that, contradictorily, Haiti has significantly more hospitals than many countries of similar income levels. But it spends just US$13 on health care per capita, compared to US$180 in the Dominican Republic, US$781 in Cuba and US$336, the average for the Latin American and Caribbean region.

The report explains that more than half of all health spending is allocated to curative rather than preventive care: Haiti has many under-equipped hospitals, but only 0.3 dispensaries per 10,000 people.

The study calls for Haiti’s government and donors to better coordinate health sector financing. It says the country, which currently devotes less than 5% of its budget to health, has to spend more resources and run a more efficient health system. Traditionally, Haitians have traveled east to the Dominican Republic to benefit from free medical services in Dominican public hospitals.

The lead author of the report, Eleonora Cavagnero, a health economist for Haiti at the World Bank, advocates for a moratorium on new hospital construction in Haiti. “A lot of the illnesses that Haitians suffer from could be treated at the primary health care levels in a more cost-effective way.”
The study reveals that since 2004, public spending on health in Haiti has fallen from 16.6% of the country’s approximately US$2 billion budget to 4.4% of the latest US$1.8 billion budget submitted by Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, a physician, and approved this month by Haiti’s Parliament.

The study recommends increasing taxes on tobacco and alcoholic beverages to increase funds available for primary health care.
The study was released in the Dominican Republic at a time when the medical community is criticizing the poor health care planning by the Medina administration health authorities.

Source: DR1, Wordbank.org

June 30, 2017

Category: DR News |

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Last updated July 23, 2017 at 12:40 AM
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