The Bandim Health Project among the world's best
24 October 2007
24 October 2007
The Bandim Health Project among the world’s best
During this week 230 medical journals have launched special issues focusing on poverty and development. De eight best studies on poverty and health were presented October 23 at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in USA. One of these studies is from the State Serum Institute’s research unit Bandim Health Station in Guinea-Bissau.
The randomised study, which is published in this weeks number of BMJ (Biai et al 2007) showed that if the health staff follows the standardised protocol for treatment of malaria, it is possible to reduce mortality at the paediatric ward by 50% - from 10% to 5%. On its own this is not so surprising. However, it is important that the result was obtained by supplementing the health workers salary with a small contribution of 50$ monthly for following all rules and filling-in all needed forms.
In the accompanying editorial in BMJ (Tumwine 2007) it is emphasised that the police of the World Bank and the IMF in the 1980s and 1990s paralysed the health sector. In many countries in Africa the hospitals are now in need of almost everything. Parents must buy the medicine themselves to treat life threatening infections in their small children. There is a lack of staff and those remaining receive a salary that is impossible to live on. Staff therefore has to obtain money in other ways by extracting extra payments from patients, selling medicine or taking other jobs.
Nonetheless it has been donor policy not to give supplementary salary payment. Instead the donors have prioritized participation in educational courses and campaigns. As emphasized by the editorial, the study from Bissau suggests that it may provide better results to pay the health workers for doing their routine jobs properly.
Biai, Sidu, Amabelia Rodrigues, Melba Gomes, Isabela Ribeiro, Morten Sodemann, Fernanda Alves, and Peter Aaby. 2007. Reduced in-hospital mortality after improved management of children under 5 years admitted to hospital with malaria: randomised trial. BMJ.
Download it here: Biai-et-al-2007.pdf
Tumwine, James K. 2007. Equitable access to health care. BMJ 335(7625):833-834.
NIH Launch of the CSE 2007 Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development
Last revised 24 October 2007