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Free health care: Yes, but with caution
Date:10/27/2011

re a certain level of complexity. It is therefore important that leaders consult their technicians; the latter can help the former to build fair, efficient and sustainable health care systems.
  • Donors, aid agencies and Northern Non-Governmental Organizations have a role to play, but in full respect of sovereign choices made by low-income countries.

    According to Bruno Meessen, researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine and coordinator of the supplement, "Leadership developed by African leaders in favour of vulnerable populations such as young children and pregnant women has to be praised. Good outcomes for these groups however require a long term commitment in terms of public resources and policies which are sound from a technical perspective. Providing free health care is more complex than it is usually thought."

    Lucy Gilson, Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and at the University of Cape Town and co-editor of the supplement says: "As leaders take important decisions to strengthen health systems for the benefit of the poorest, their engagement with communities, health workers and technicians is vital in bringing those decisions alive in the day to day practice of health care delivery".

    Abdelmajid Tibouti of UNICEF New York "hopes that this supplement sponsored by UNICEF will be a source of inspiration for governments and their partners. Equity is a major challenge in many countries. Technical and financial partners have probably a stronger support role to play, in full respect of course of options chosen by countries themselves. A first track is to network countries implementing similar policies."

    In this respect, Bruno Meessen sees very positive trends. "African experts working on these issues are organised themselves in a community of practice. Thanks to information & communication technology, they constantly share their experience and knowledge. Opportunities to learn from each other are many.
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  • Contact: Bruno Meesen
    bmeessen@itg.be
    32-324-76292
    Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
    Source:Eurekalert

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