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Marijn Verhoeven, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Mr. Erwin H Tiongson
This paper estimates the impact of public spending on the poor's health status in over 70 countries. It provides evidence that the poor have significantly worse health status than the rich and that they are more favorably affected by public spending on health care. An important new result is that the relationship between public spending and the health status of the poor is stronger in low-income countries than in higher-income countries. However, the results suggest that increased public spending alone will not be sufficient to meet international commitments for improvements in health status.
Deon Filmer, Roberta Gatti, Halsey Rogers, Mr. Nikola Spatafora, and Drilona Emrullahu
We discuss existing shortfalls and inequalities in the accumulation of human capital—knowledge, skills, and health. We analyze their immediate and systemic causes, and assess the scope for public intervention. The broad policy goals should be to improve: the quality, and not just the quantity, of education and health care; outcomes for disadvantaged groups; and lifelong outcomes. The means to achieve these goals, while maximizing value for money, include: focusing on results rather than just inputs; moving from piecemeal interventions to systemic reform; and adopting a “whole-of-society” approach. Reforms must be underpinned by a robust evidence base.
Ms. Sena Eken, David A. Robalino, and George Schieber

This paper analyzes why the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has lagged in growth and globalization. Despite attempts to spur recovery and initiate structural reforms, many countries in the region remain on a slow growth path, effectively sidelined from globalization and the benefits of closer economic integration with the rest of the world. The benefits from oil failed to generate a sustained growth dynamic or bring about greater regional economic integration. The paper highlights that the slowdown in economic reforms is a key factor for the economic depression in the MENA region.