Reflections on the framing of ‘health equity’ in the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework: a cause for celebration or concern?
There has been a growing national and global focus on the need to address social determinants of health to better achieve equitable health outcomes. In Australia, this focus is now being embedded into state, territory and Commonwealth government health policies. In this paper I use the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework as a case study to examine the way in which ‘health equity’ and other related terms have been framed within a current national health policy context.
Using a critically reflective approach, I argue that primary health care and health promotion professionals need to capitalise on the inclusion of terms such as ‘action on social determinants of health’, ‘health equity’ and ‘reducing inequity’ through emerging national health policies, such as the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework. Yet, there is also a need to proceed with caution.
Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa – the countries known as BRICS – represent some of the world’s fastest growing large economies and nearly 40% of the world’s population. Over the last two decades, BRICS have undertaken health-system reforms to make progress towards universal health coverage. This paper discusses three key aspects of these reforms: the role of government in financing health; the underlying motivation behind the reforms; and the value of the lessons learnt for non-BRICS countries. Although national governments have played a prominent role in the reforms, private financing constitutes a major share of health spending in BRICS. There is a reliance on direct expenditures in China and India and a substantial presence of private insurance in Brazil and South Africa.