Universal health coverage reforms: implications for the distribution of the health workforce in low and middle-income countries
Edoka, Ijeoma P.
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McPake, B. & Edoka, I. (2014-07) Universal health coverage reforms: implications for the distribution of the health workforce in low and middle-income countries, WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health, vol. 3, pp. 213-218.
To achieve universal health coverage (UHC), a range of health-financing reforms, including removal of user fees and the expansion of social health insurance, have been implemented in many countries. While the focus of much research and discussion on UHC has been on the impact of health-financing reforms on population coverage, health-service utilization and out-of-pocket payments, the implications of such reforms for the distribution and performance of the health workforce have often been overlooked. Shortages and geographical imbalances in the distribution of skilled health workers persist in many low- and middle-income countries, posing a threat to achieving UHC. This paper suggests that there are risks associated with health-financing reforms, for the geographical distribution and performance of the health workforce. These risks require greater attention if poor and rural populations are to benefit from expanded financial protection. Key words: health-care financing policies, health insurance schemes, human resources for health, geographical imbalances in the distribution of health workers, universal health coverage, user fees