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International journal of health services [journal]
- The ethics of medical tourism: from the United Kingdom to India seeking medical care. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):779-800.
Is the practice of UK patients traveling to India as medical tourists morally justified? This article addresses that question by examining three ethically relevant issues. First, the key factor motivating citizens of the United Kingdom to seek medical treatment in India is identified and analyzed. Second, the life prospects of the majority of the citizens of the two nations are compared to determine whether the United Kingdom is morally warranted in relying on India to meet the medical needs of its citizens. Third, as neoliberal reforms are justified on the grounds that they will help the indigent populations affected by them, the impact of medical tourism--a neoliberal initiative--on India's socially and economically marginalized groups is scrutinized.
- Acceptability of quality reporting and pay for performance among primary health centers in Lebanon. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):761-77.
Primary health care (PHC) is emphasized as the cornerstone of any health care system. Enhancing PHC performance is considered a strategy to enhance effective and equitable access to care. This study assesses the acceptability of and factors associated with quality reporting among PHC centers (PHCCs) in Lebanon. The managers of 132 Lebanese Ministry of Health PHCCs were surveyed using a cross-sectional design. Managers' willingness to report quality, participate in comparative quality assessments, and endorse pay-for-performance schemes was evaluated. Collected data were matched to the infrastructural characteristics and services database. Seventy-six percent of managers responded to the questionnaire, 93 percent of whom were willing to report clinical performance. Most expressed strong support for peer-performance comparison and pay-for-performance schemes. Willingness to report was negatively associated with the religious affiliation of centers and presence of health care facilities in the catchment area and favorably associated with use of information systems and the size of population served. The great willingness of PHCC managers to employ quality-enhancing initiatives flags a policy priority for PHC stakeholders to strengthen PHCC infrastructure and to enable reporting in an easy, standardized, and systematic way. Enhancing equity necessitates education and empowerment of managers in remote areas and those managing religiously affiliated centers.
- Africanizing the social determinants of health: embedded structural inequalities and current health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):745-59.
There is a growing interest in health policy in the social determinants of health. This has increased the demand for a paradigm shift within the discipline of health economics from health care economics to health economics. While the former involves what is essentially a medical model that emphasizes the maximization of individual health outcomes and considers the social organization of the health system as merely instrumental, the latter emphasizes that health and its distribution result from political, social, economic, and cultural structures. The discipline of health economics needs to refocus its energy on the social determinants of health but, in doing so, must dig deeper into the reasons for structurally embedded inequalities that give rise to inequalities in health outcomes. Especially is this the case in Africa and other low- and middle-income regions. This article seeks to provide empirical evidence from sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana and Nigeria, on why such inequalities exist, arguing that these are in large part a product of hangovers from historically entrenched institutions. It argues that there is a need for research in health economics to embrace the social determinants of health, especially inequality, and to move away from its current mono-cultural focus.
- Precarious employment, ill health, and lessons from history: the case of casual (temporary) dockworkers 1880-1945. [Historical Article, Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):721-44.
An international body of scientific research indicates that growth of job insecurity and precarious forms of employment over the past 35 years have had significant negative consequences for health and safety. Commonly overlooked in debates over the changing world of work is that widespread use of insecure and short-term work is not new, but represents a return to something resembling labor market arrangements found in rich countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Moreover, the adverse health effects of precarious employment were extensively documented in government inquiries and in health and medical journals. This article examines the case of a large group of casual dockworkers in Britain. It identifies the mechanisms by which precarious employment was seen to undermine workers and families' health and safety. The article also shows the British dockworker experience was not unique and there are important lessons to be drawn from history. First, historical evidence reinforces just how health-damaging precarious employment is and how these effects extend to the community, strengthening the case for social and economic policies that minimize precarious employment. Second, there are striking parallels between historical evidence and contemporary research that can inform future research on the health effects of precarious employment.
- Intensifying action to address HIV and tuberculosis in Mozambique's cross-border mining sector. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):699-719.
The southern provinces of Mozambique have some of the world's highest recorded levels of HIV and tuberculosis (TB). They are also characterized by high levels of cross-border migration, particularly to mines in South Africa. Through the Declaration on Tuberculosis in the Mining Sector in August 2012, heads of state of the Southern African Development Community showed an increased commitment to addressing TB and HIV among migrant mine workers, but there is much left to do. This article analyzes the importance of recent policy developments, both regional and national. We report new research from 2011-2012 on health-related attitudes and behaviors of Mozambican mine workers and their families and present an estimate of the financial burden of disease related to migrant mine work for Mozambique's public services and migrant-sending communities. We recommend that the Declaration be operationalized and enforced. Practical measures should include training of health workers in migrants' right to health; user-friendly health information in Portuguese and local languages; building the advocacy capacity of mine workers' representatives; and more attention to social, cultural, and economic factors that affect migrant mine workers' health, including better access to health information and services and livelihoods for wives, widows, and orphans in communities of origin.
- Oil, migration, and the political economy of HIV/AIDS prevention in Nigeria's Niger Delta. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):681-97.
In most of sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS is driven by endemic structural problems such as unemployment, poverty, forced migration, sexual exploitation, and concurrent sexual partnerships. In the Niger Delta of Nigeria, the epidemic is exacerbated by recurring regional conflict and negative environmental externalities resulting from 50 years of oil exploration. This article seeks to identify and analyze potential barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment from oil pollution and other environmental stressors in Nigeria's Niger Delta. We develop a conceptual framework to understand how oil politics and economic systems affect HIV risks in Nigeria. We then evaluate evidence of how environmental exposures can amplify risks. Using 10 semi-structured interviews, with 85 focus group participants, we test the argument that HIV transmission in the Niger Delta is related to a manipulative "divide and rule" power dynamic that characterizes multinational oil companies' role in shaping conflict contours in oil communities. Oil exploration destroys livelihoods, institutions, and values and forces impoverished and illiterate girls and women to migrate or be trafficked to urban centers as child laborers and sex workers. The elevated HIV/AIDS risk in the Niger Delta brings into focus the political economy of resource extraction, globalization, and indigenous, minority rights and struggles.
- Human trafficking, labor brokering, and mining in southern Africa: responding to a decentralized and hidden public health disaster. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):665-80.
Many southern African economies are dependent on the extractive industries. These industries rely on low-cost labor, often supplied by migrants, typically acquired through labor brokers. Very little attention has so far been paid to trafficking of men into extractive industries or its connection with trafficked women in the region's mining hubs. Recent reports suggest that labor-brokering practices foster human trafficking, both by exposing migrant men to lack of pay and exploitative conditions and by creating male migratory patterns that generate demand for sex workers and associated trafficking of women and girls. While trafficking in persons violates human rights, and thus remains a priority issue globally, there is little or no evidence of an effective political response to mine-related trafficking in southern Africa. This article concludes with recommendations for legal and policy interventions, as well as an enhanced public health response, which if implemented would help reduce human trafficking toward mining sites.
- Aspiring to zero tuberculosis deaths among southern Africa's miners: is there a way forward? [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):651-64.
Tuberculosis notification rates among South African miners range from 4,000 to 7,000 per 100,000 people. These rates far exceed national tuberculosis notification rates for the general population. Tuberculosis mortality also surpasses deaths caused by mining accidents. These extraordinarily high rates of disease are unambiguously linked to a series of contributing factors, including exposure to silica dust, HIV infection, and poor working and living conditions. We argue that the only way to stop the transmission of this airborne disease is to treat the mine and its living quarters as one should any other congregate setting with individuals who have high rates of infection with drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis. This means implementing interventions that have been demonstrated to stop the spread of tuberculosis over the last 60 years: immediate treatment of active tuberculosis, concurrent treatment of latent tuberculosis disease to reduce the burden of active cases, and appropriate management of patients infected with HIV. Because tuberculosis is also a social disease, biomedical interventions must be coupled with improved living and working conditions. Achieving zero deaths from tuberculosis in the mines is possible if a clear commitment is made to a strategy that recognizes and ameliorates the biological and social antecedents to this epidemic.
- Introduction: 'dying for gold': the effects of mineral miningon HIV, tuberculosis, silicosis, and occupational diseases in southern Africa. [Journal Article, Review]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):639-49.
Mineral mining is among the world's most hazardous occupations. It is especially dangerous in southern Africa, where mining activity is a leading cause of HIV and tuberculosis epidemics. Inside mines, silica dust exposure causes long-term pulmonary damage. Living conditions are often substandard; poorly ventilated living quarters facilitate tuberculosis and airborne disease spread, and high rates of alcohol and tobacco use compromise immune responses. Family segregation, a legacy of apartheid's migrational labor system, increases the likelihood of risky sexual activity. Sex trafficking in women increases risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and labor trafficking in men through poorly regulated labor brokering impedes access to health care. Labor migration spreads mining hazards to rural, labor-supplying communities. Cross-border care is often inadequate or nonexistent, contributing to significantly greater rates of extensive and multi-drug resistance in miners, ex-miners, their families, and communities. Miners in high-income countries, working for the same transnational companies, do not experience elevated rates of death and disability. Cost-effective interventions can reduce HIV incidence through social housing, curb trafficking of high-risk groups, stop tuberculosis spread through screening and detection, and reduce drug resistance by standardizing cross-border care. Urgent action is needed to respond to mining's staggering, yet avoidable disease toll in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Employer-sponsored health insurance coverage continues to decline in a new decade. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Int J Health Serv 2013; 43(4):603-38.
Most Americans, particularly those under age 65, rely on health insurance offered through the workplace. Given continuing high unemployment, it comes as no surprise that the share of Americans under age 65 covered by employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) eroded for the 11th year in a row in 2011, falling from 58.6 percent in 2010 to 58.3 percent. The situation started deteriorating long before the Great Recession: the share of Americans under age 65 covered by ESI eroded every year from 2000 to 2011, decreasing by a total of 10.9 percentage points. As many as 29 million more people under age 65 would have had ESI in 2011 if the coverage rate had remained at the 2000 level. The decline in ESI coverage has been accompanied by an overall decline in health insurance coverage. The number of uninsured non-elderly Americans was 47.9 million in 2011--11.7 million higher than in 2000. Increasing public insurance coverage, particularly among children, is the only reason the uninsured rate did not rise one-for-one with losses in ESI. In addition, key components in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act took effect in 2010, shielding young adults from further coverage losses.