The Great Debate UK

Quality of care the missing link between coverage of care and health improvements

Jocalyn Clark (@jocalynclark) is Senior Editor at PLOS Medicine. The opinions expressed are the organisation’s own.–

While coverage of health care has increased considerably since the international community defined its millennium development goals to improve health around the world, health gains remain stubbornly elusive, especially in developing countries, and poor quality of care may be the reason why.

These are the conclusions of leading maternal health scholar Dr. Wendy Graham and her colleagues as they reflect on the global progress in women’s and children’s health in preparation for the global maternal health conference in Arusha, Tanzania this week that brings together 700 delegates and political leaders from around the world.

While the proportion of women and children receiving health care in the poorest countries is increasing, the authors say, improved health outcomes such as falling maternal or newborn deaths “have not matched expectations from the gains in the coverage of care.”  A recent Lancet analysis said only 13 countries in the world are expected to reach the millennium development goal (MDG) 5 to improve maternal health, and still an astonishing 300,000 women each year die trying to give birth. And while deaths among children under 5 years of age have declined in the past decade, still 7.2 million children died in 2011.

from The Great Debate:

Obama, Moses and exaggerated expectations

-Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own-

President Barack Obama is close to the half-way mark of his presidential mandate, a good time for a brief look at health care, unemployment, war, the level of the oceans, the health of the planet, and America's image. They all featured in a 2008 Obama speech whose rhetoric soared to stratospheric heights.

"If...we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I'm absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs for the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last best hope on earth."

from The Great Debate:

The lucrative business of Obama-bashing


Bernd Debusmann-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Four days before Barack Obama was sworn into office, a prominent radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, told his conservative listeners that a major American publication had asked him to write 400 words on his hopes for the Obama presidency.

from The Great Debate:

Refuting healthcare myths


David Magnus-- David Magnus, Phd, is the director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. The views expressed are his own. --

The public discussion of healthcare reform has been full of so many lies and myths that it is less a policy debate than bad theater.

from The Great Debate:

Where the healthcare debate seems bizarre



global_post_logoMichael Goldfarb serves as a GlobalPost correspondent in the United Kingdom, where this article first appeared.

In America, the health care debate is about to come to a boil. President Barack Obama has put pressure on both houses of Congress to pass versions of his flagship domestic legislative program prior to their August recess.