Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

ReBUILD researcher attends regional forum on Health Care Financing in Phnom Penh

Tuesday, 01 May 2012

ReBUILD researcher Neath Net (pictured right), recently attended a regional forum that aims to establish a lasting knowledge management strategy and Community of Practice for health financing with researchers and policy makers working collaboratively.

Representing ReBUILD, Neath co-led a theme on the Demand Side Schemes.

The objectives of the Forum were:

1. To bring together interested and concerned stakeholders active in the field of Health Care Financing in the Mekong Countries and ASEAN, to facilitate an active exchange of information and sharing of country experiences accumulated through pilot projects and policies, especially issues related to scheme design, implementation, evaluation and scaling up.

2. To establish a Regional Community of Practice on Health Care Financing, if found relevant by the forum participants.

3. To stimulate engagement of governmental and non-governmental organizations and research institutions in a regional and in-country process of knowledge sharing, in order to strengthen the quality of research and facilitate evidence-to-policy linkages

Across Asia, countries are developing and strengthening health care financing and service delivery mechanisms. In the Mekong region, countries are at different stages in developing and implementing innovative strategies for resource mobilization, pooling and purchasing for health services. Thailand has already reached universal coverage, and Vietnam is expected to do so soon. Cambodia and Laos are advancing in the development of their social safety nets, and policy makers in Myanmar are considering introducing Social Health Protection mechanisms.

This interest for innovative approaches to address barriers to health care services and to improve performance of public health systems is good news for the populations in the region. However, designing, implementing, evaluating and scaling up the necessary strategies, policies and plans can be challenging, and countries may find it particularly useful to learn from each other through taking stock of experiences inside the region. It is hoped that the Community of Practice will use this opportunity to improve knowledge in health financing.