What can developing economies learn from health system reforms of developed economies?

Dov Chernichovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This paper outlines some general lessons developing nations can draw from the health system reform experiences of developed nations. Using the experiences of developed countries, developing countries should be better able to anticipate socio-economic changes and choose an optimal path for their health systems development to accompany those changes. Most developed countries have adopted rather common objectives and principles in their health systems because of market failure in health care; developing countries may start adopting those principles because they do not have market conditions in the first place. It is suggested that developing countries strengthen what is probably the most fundamental initial systemic asset they have: public finance. They should do so by attracting democratically, possibly through earmarked taxes, resources otherwise channelled through the private sector, competing with public finance for limited real resources. This effort can be promoted by giving consumers, mainly of high income groups and in urban areas, more say (through institutions performing the OMCC function) in the nature of care these groups have access to under auspices of public finance. Where feasible, private insurance as a major source of finance should be seen as a transitional phenomenon, giving way to the emergence of OMCC institutions which require similar financial and managerial market infrastructure. Private and competitive provision of care may be unrealistic in many developing areas because of both scarcity of real resources, mainly manpower, and health needs. The challenge of government is, as resources grow, to divest itself from the provision of care and stay involved in activities and facilities that are of 'public nature'-under specific circumstances-that foster private competitive provision. In general, the government should play an enabling role also by investing in health promotions and management skills for health systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-91
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • Developing country
  • Health sector financing
  • Lesson
  • Organization
  • Public system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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