Global Practice on Health, Nutrition and Population, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
Health policy and economics, Public health, Pharmaceuticals, Ophthalmology, Medicine
Global Practice on Health, Nutrition and Population, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
Ramesh Govindaraj is a Lead Specialist in the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice of the World Bank. He has almost 30 years of development experience, working in diverse settings, including as a practicing physician in India, in an international NGO based in California, in the research-based pharmaceutical industry in New Jersey, and as a senior researcher at Harvard University. Ramesh has published widely in peer reviewed pharmaceuticals, health and development journals and edited volumes, and holds adjunct appointments at leading universities in the United States. Ramesh holds an MD in Ophthalmology from the University of Delhi and an M.S. in Health Policy and Management and a D.Sc. in International Health Economics and Policy from Harvard University.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-09) Govindaraj, Ramesh ; Reich, Michael R. ; Cohen, Jillian C.Pharmaceuticals have a major impact on health, on government and household spending, and on health systems. Despite the fundamental role of pharmaceuticals, there remains a profound gap between the benefit which pharmaceuticals have to offer and the reality that for millions of people -- particularly poor and disadvantaged people -- medicines are unavailable, unaffordable, unsafe or improperly used. This World Bank Pharmaceuticals Discussion Paper provides a pragmatic analysis of some of the causes for this gap and strategic directions to help close this gap. The strategic directions outlined in this Pharmaceuticals Discussion Paper complement and reinforce the objectives outlined in the WHO Medicines Strategy: 2000-2003 (World Health Organization, Geneva, 2000, WHO/EDM/2000.1). The WHO strategy describes specific objectives, expected outcomes, and progress indicators in the areas of drug policy, access to essential drugs, quality and safety, and rational use of medicines. Both the World Bank and the WHO initiatives rest on a fundamental commitment to work with governments, on governmental organizations, the private sector, professional bodies, and other key actors to help strengthen the pharmaceutical sector and its ability to contribute to improved health outcomes.. The current burden of disease falling on the two billion people living on less than one dollar per day undermines both individual well-being and collective economic development. Much of this burden of disease can be reduced by securing the availability, affordability, and rational use of essential drugs of assured quality. Yet this aim can not be achieved by governments alone, by individual multilateral organizations working alone, or by any other individual organization. It can only be achieved when committed governments and local organizations are supported by clear, consistency, and mutually compatible approaches by agencies such as the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, others in the UN family, bilateral donors, and the broader development community. This discussion paper provides an important contribution to this process.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-06) Autier, Philippe ; Govindaraj, Ramesh ; Gray, Robin ; Lakshminarayanan, Rama ; Nassery, Homira G. ; Schmets, GerardThe objectives of this project were to conduct situation analyses on drug donations in East Timor (post-conflict country), El Salvador and Gujarat State in India (both affected by earthquakes), and Mozambique (floods), applying criteria derived from the Interagency Guidelines for Drug Donations; to determine how and whether the implementation of the Guidelines has affected the processes and outcomes of drug donations; and to build evidence to facilitate wider acceptance of the Guidelines. The study teams undertook to identify the organizations responsible for inappropriate donations, a step not often taken in earlier investigations. This information can now be used to facilitate educational initiatives aimed at preventing similar problems in the future. Awareness of the Guidelines was high and appropriate drug donations were made in El Salvador, Gujarat State in India and East Timor. In Mozambique, it was found that even with strong recipient awareness of the Guidelines and country ownership of the drug donation process, dumping and inappropriate donations occurred. International donors did not follow requests made by the Mozambique Government, and disruption of administrative systems by the floods affected capacity to ensure proper management of drug supplies. In the four countries, drug needs in the first few days following the emergency were often met through buffer stocks. A common feature noted in Gujarat, East Timor and El Salvador was that, in most instances, adequate drug supplies were provided during the acute phase of the disaster through the use of local buffer stocks, as well as by major donor agencies with expertise in providing immediate disaster aid of good quality. In the case of Gujarat, the presence of a large domestic pharmaceutical production capacity in India significantly aided the swift response following the occurrence of the earthquake. In Mozambique, warehouses that contained buffer stocks were flooded. The effectiveness of logistics software systems was closely dependent on local capacity and sustainability of the systems. The decision to use them for emergencies needs to be re-examined since the effectiveness of these tools is disputed. In India and Mozambique, elaborate manual record-keeping systems that the local staff were familiar with and experienced in maintaining, served as a better source of information than computer based systems that were not updated, lacked functioning equipment and required staff knowledgeable in the use of the program. In all four countries, no evidence was found to suggest that improvements are needed to the Guidelines. However, there is a continuing need for improved dissemination, mainly among specific donor groups such as bilateral organizations, diasporas and smaller organizations. Such targeting of information on drug donation practices would improve future outcomes.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-09) Govindaraj, Ramesh ; Chellaraj, GnanarajThis report assesses the pharmaceutical sector in India, particularly focusing on four key issues related to the production, procurement, and distribution of drugs in India: a) availability, b) affordability; c) quality, and d) the rational use of drugs. The results of a survey of three states indicate considerable variation across states in the above four areas in both public and private sectors. The report concludes that problems with the availability, affordability, and rational use of good quality, cost-effective, essential drugs have persisted in most parts of India, and that these health-related issues need be addressed as a priority. An overarching recommendation is the need to focus on strengthening the implementation and regulation of the pharmaceutical sector at the state level, rather than on simply introducing new regulations. Adequate pharmaceutical quality assurance needs to be particularly emphasized as, in its absence, other reform measures could be rendered moot. Similarly, the rational use of drugs needs to be emphasized as it is likely to yield significant cost savings to the government and to consumers, in addition to its positive impact on health.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Govindaraj, Ramesh ; Navaratne, Kumari ; Cavagnero, Eleonora ; Seshadri, Shreelata RaoThis review represents an attempt to bridge the significant knowledge gaps on the private health sector in Sri Lanka, and foster a dialogue on opportunities for collaboration between the government and the private sector. It accomplishes this through a systematic collection and analysis of primary and secondary data on the provision, financing, and regulation of health care services. On health service delivery, the review finds that the private sector: includes a range of providers; focuses primarily on curative and outpatient services rather than preventive services; is heavily dependent on the public sector for its supply of human resources; and is concentrated in urban areas. The quality of health care services in Sri Lanka in both the private and public sectors, while better than in most developing countries, still lags behind those in more advanced countries. There is also little systematic dialogue and collaboration between the public and private sectors. On financing, the review finds that private health expenditure is more than half of total health expenditure, mostly in the form of out-of-pocket payments by households, with clear implications for Sri Lanka's progression toward universal health coverage. On stewardship and regulation, there is a clear and urgent need to bridge the existing gaps in the legal and regulatory framework, and in the enforcement of health regulations applicable to the private sector, as well as to create an enabling environment for more effective private sector participation in the health sector. The review demonstrates that the private health sector in Sri Lanka is a growing force, due both to greater investment from private players as well as greater demand from the population. The review highlights areas where a more effective engagement with the private sector could ensure that Sri Lanka is able to offer its citizens universal access to good quality health service while also stimulating economic growth.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018) Govindaraj, Ramesh ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Secci, Federica ; Chowdhury, Sadia ; Frere, Jean-JacquesUrbanization is occurring at a rapid pace in Bangladesh, accompanied by the proliferation of slum settlements, whose residents have special health needs given the adverse social, economic, and public environmental conditions they face. Over the past 45 years, the country’s health and nutrition policies and programs have focused largely on rural health services. Consequently, equitable access of urban populations—particularly the urban poor—to quality health and nutrition services has emerged as a major development issue. However, the knowledge base on urban health and nutrition in Bangladesh remains weak. To address the knowledge gap, Health and Nutrition in Urban Bangladesh: Social Determinants and Health Sector Governance examines the health and nutrition challenges in urban Bangladesh—looking at socioeconomic determinants in general and at health sector governance in particular. Using a mixed methods approach, the study identifies critical areas such as financing, regulation, service delivery, and public environmental health, among others that require policy attention. The study also proposes specific actions within and outside the health sector to address the issues, providing guidance on their sequencing and the specific responsibilities of government agencies and other actors. This study should be useful to policy makers and practitioners working on urban health and nutrition issues in Bangladesh and in other low- and middle-income countries.