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Past Program

Mar 06 - Mar 13, 2002

Improving Access to Healthcare and Human Services: Elements of Success

Session 395

Abstract

There is a universal need for the improvement of quality healthcare and greater access to human services. Although improvements can be seen in areas such as broader availability of childhood vaccinations and the recent success in some developing countries to purchase HIV/AIDS treatment drugs at cost, there remain significant obstacles to general health care and preventive primary care. Diverse and innovative strategies have been implemented around the world to overcome these barriers and to improve access to health services; these include improved education, greater sensitivity to cultural acceptability, and increased affordability.

 

Recognizing that access to and utilization of a comprehensive set of services are essential to the acquisition and maintenance of health, the session will begin by identifying barriers to services, comparing and contrasting experiences in different cultural and social contexts. The session will then focus on strategies and case studies that have been successful in reducing or eliminating these diverse obstacles. Particular emphasis will be given to community-based approaches that are able to utilize local talents and resources; attention will also be given to alternative options for services, such as community health centers and traditional healers. The session will also explore the relationship between public policy and the role played by community leaders in effecting positive change.