Pandemic Bonds

The World Bank is trying to insure against one of the worst crises in the world: a pandemic.  The Economist reports that the World Bank: …has issued $425m in pandemic bonds to support its new Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), which is intended to channel funding to countries facing a deadly disease.  The bonds cover…

Pharmaceuticals in China

As China is now the second largest economy in the world, spending on medical services and medications is also growing. Pharmafile reports: China is positioned to become the second-largest pharmaceutical market, after the US, by next year, according to healthcare analysts IMS Health; meanwhile, by growing an estimated 15% to 18% annually, the organisation says…

Health Care Workers and Informal Payments

In many developing countries, making informal payments to health care workers is common.  Lewis (2000) estimates the frequency of informal payments in selected Asian and Central/Eastern European countries as: Armenia: 91%; Azerbaijan: 78%; Kyrgyz Republic: 75% Poland: 78%; Russia: 74% Vietnam: 81%; Do these payments work?  Would people be better off if these bribes were made…

Health Reform in China

What is health insurance like in China?  A 2011 paper by Zhong in Health Economics provides a nice overview, which I discuss in today’s post. Between the 1950s and the end of the 1970s, three primary insurance schemes covered almost all Chinese citizens. Cooperative Medical System (CMS).  This program existed in 90% of Chinese villages. …

Good News in the Fight Against HIV

Almost one in five South Africans have HIV.  South Africa is the country with the most individuals living with HIV (5.6 million); it also has the most HIV deaths annually (310,000). Despite these grim facts, there is some good news.  The Economist reports: “Although the number of South Africans living with the disease continues to…

Effect of delayed reimbursement on utilization of medical services

A recent paper by Hai Zhong (2011) finds that health insurance that provides immediate reimbursement for health care services significantly increases the likelihood of patients seeking outpatient treatment in China compared to reimbursement beneficiaries with a delay. China isn’t the only country where insurance companies provide delayed reimbursement. In fact, in France patients pay the full cost…

Urinalysis in Nepal

In The Healing of America, T.R. Reid discusses some ‘interesting’ urinalysis techniques practiced by Dr. Tenzin in Nepal.   “When they do urinalysis up at Khunde [a Western-style clinic in Nepal], all the do is stick a slip of paper into a sample,” he said.  “But that can’t be enough.  I just don’t think it…