This Lancet study suggests that low-quality health care is responsible for more deaths than lack of access to healthcare at all. Education is key to further developing healthcare systems — it’s why we do what we do!
In low-income countries, evidence is emerging that expanding health care coverage does not necessarily result in better outcomes, even for conditions highly amenable to medical care. A large programme called Janani Suraksha Yojana, that was set up 13 years ago in India, has provided cash incentives for women to deliver their children in health facilities and has increased coverage of facility birth for more than 50 million women, but these incentives have not improved maternal or newborn survival.6,7 Many of the births in this programme occurred in primary care centres that did not have sufficiently skilled staff to address maternal and newborn complications.8 Similarly, low quality of care for mothers and children has been documented in primary care facilities in Africa and in India.9, 10, 11 Researchers have also found large deficiencies in quality of hospital care for surgical conditions, obstetric care, and care of tuberculosis,12, 13, 14 whereas other studies15 have shown large differences between treatment and successful control of blood pressure.15
Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org