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PublicationHealth Policy Research in South Asia : Building Capacity for Reform(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-08) Yazbeck, Abdo S.; Yazbeck, Abdo S.; Peters, David H.The richness of the research papers in this volume makes it difficult to quickly capture the main themes and implications of their research. But three repeated themes can be highlighted: equality of public spending, the role of the private sector, and the role of consumers. On the theme of equality in public expenditures, research in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka shows that in some parts of South Asia-such as south India and Sri Lanka-governments do a much better job of distributing subsidies in the health sector than other regions. The research overwhelmingly documents the dominance of the private sector in Bangladesh and India and finds a very strong private sector in Sri Lanka. The research also highlights different policy instruments available to the government for working with the private sector to achieve health sector outcomes. A third general theme is the role of consumers and the mechanisms available to them to influence health services delivery. The authors in this volume have supported the belief that individuals and households can make a difference in how health services are delivered. While the three themes summarized above cut across several of the chapters in this volume, a more basic theme underlies all the chapters and is the main motivation for conducting health policy research. That theme is that empirical research can and should challenge basic assumptions about the health sector and will provide policymakers some of the tools needed to improve and monitor the performance of the sector. PublicationBetter Health Systems for India's Poor : Findings, Analysis, and Options(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Peters, David H.; Yazbeck, Abdo S.; Sharma, Rashmi R.; Ramana, G. N. V.; Pritchett, Lant H.; Wagstaff, AdamThis report focuses on four areas of the health system in which reforms, and innovations would make the most difference to the future of the Indian health system: oversight, public health service delivery, ambulatory curative care, and inpatient care (together with health insurance). Part 1 of the report contains four chapters that discuss current conditions, and policy options. Part 2 presents the theory, and evidence to support the policy choices. The general reader may be most interested in the overview chapter, and in the highlights found at the beginning of each of the chapters in part 2. These highlights outline the empirical findings, and the main policy challenges discussed in the chapter. The report does not set out to prescribe detailed answers for India's future health system. It does however, have a goal: to support informed debate, and consensus building, and to help shape a health system that continually strives to be more effective, equitable, efficient, and accountable to the Indian people, and particularly to the poor.