Friday, September 25, 2015

Health policy: what works?

Successes and Failures of Health Policy in Europe. Four decades of divergent trends and converging challenges

Three questions to answer:
  • Do differences in rates of disease reflect differences in related policies?
  • What would a country gain if it implemented the policies of the best performing country?
  • Which social, economic and political factors influence a country's success in health policy?
And the (partial) answer is in chapter 14 of the book:

Gains in health since 1970 for the causes analysed in this chapter have clearly been enormous. While not all of these declines can be attributed to health policies, part of the decline in all these causes can  be, as shown in the previous chapters. For example, some of the declines in lung cancer and  ischaemic heart disease can be attributed to tobacco control; some of the declines in external cause mortality among children to injury prevention, and some of the declines in death rate from RTIs to road safety measures, and so on. It is impossible to estimate the specific contribution of preventive health policies to these declines, but even if these accounted for only half or a quarter of the cause-specifi c declines, the successes would be immense. At the same time, not all countries have been  equally successful in bringing down mortality from these preventable causes, as shown again by the calculations.

The book was released in 2013 with data from 5 years before, an update would be necessary. Anyway, a close reading is required.

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