The impacts of decentralisation on health-related equity: A systematic review of the evidence

Journal article


Sumah, Anthony Mwinkaara, Baatiema, Leonard and Abimbola, Seye. (2016). The impacts of decentralisation on health-related equity: A systematic review of the evidence. Health Policy. 120(10), pp. 1183 - 1192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.09.003
AuthorsSumah, Anthony Mwinkaara, Baatiema, Leonard and Abimbola, Seye
Abstract

Background: Decentralised governance of health care has been widely adopted globally over the past three decades. But despite being implemented as a management strategy across many health systems, its impact on health equity is yet unclear. Objective: To conduct a systematic literature review of the implications of decentralised governance of health care on equity in health, health care and health financing. Methods: A systematic search of CINAHL, EconLit, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane database of systematic reviews was conducted. Articles that met the inclusion criteria examined entire health systems and the relationship between implementing decentralised governance and health-related equity. The quality of reporting of the included studies was assessed using a 10-point quality rating tool. Results: Out of 808 articles identified, 9 met the inclusion criteria. The included studies were mostly explorative and used a range of quantitative techniques to analyse the relationship between variables of interest. The review found that depending on context, decentralisation could either lead to equity gains or exacerbate inequities. The impact of decentralisation on inequities in health and health care depends on pre-existing socio-economic disparities and financial barriers to access. While decentralisation can lead to inequities in health financing between sub-national jurisdictions, this is minimised with substantial central government transfers and cross subsidisation. Conclusion: The implications of decentralised governance of health systems on health-related equity are varied and depend on pre-existing socio-economic and organisational context, the form of decentralisation implemented and the complementary mechanisms implemented alongside decentralisation.

Keywordsdecentralisation; health system; health care governance; equity; heath financing; healthcare access; health outcomes; health-related equity
Year2016
JournalHealth Policy
Journal citation120 (10), pp. 1183 - 1192
PublisherElsevier Ireland Ltd.
ISSN0168-8510
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.09.003
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84994762078
Page range1183 - 1192
Research GroupSchool of Allied Health
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationIreland
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