South Asia is a region of contrasts, with impressive technological achievements but also more than 40 percent of the world's poor. These contrasts are evident in the health sector, which demonstrates large variations in health, nutrition, and fertility outcomes. Health Policy Research in South Asia showcases some of the innovative qualitative and quantitative research methodologies being used in South Asia to provide empirical guidance for health sector reform and policy development. The four research areas presented are analysis of inequality, expenditure analysis, private sector analysis, and consumer and provider perspectives. Salient themes emerge from the 12 health policy research activities reviewed and emphasize the importance of strengthening local capacity and building ownership: Governments can and should distribute subsidies in the health sector more efficiently and effectively. The private sector, which dominates service delivery in most of South Asia, requires a different set of public sector policy instruments. Informed consumers/citizens can and should play an important role in influencing health service delivery. Empirical research can and should provide policymakers with some of the tools needed to improve and monitor the performance of the sector. This book will be of interest to health sector policymakers and analysts, to academics and students in public health and health economics, and to anyone with an interest in the impact of health policy on development.
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