WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 285-288

Evidence-informed policy formulation: the case of the voucher scheme for maternal and child health in Myanmar

1 Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand
2 Department of Health, Ministry of Health, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
3 Department of Health Planning, Ministry of Health, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

Correspondence Address:
Sripen Tantivess
Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program, 6th Floor, 6th Building, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, Tiwanon Road, Muang, Nonthaburi 11000
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206751

PMID: 28612813

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Introduction: In 2010, with financial support from the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization’s Health System Strengthening programme, the Government of Myanmar established a scheme to improve coverage of maternal and child health (MCH) services. Employing qualitative approaches, this article reviews the processes through which this scheme was devised, focusing on evidence generation and the use of such evidence to inform policy formulation. To address the problem of high mortality rates among mothers and infants, collaborative research was conducted by Myanmar’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and a research arm of Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, between March 2010 and September 2011. In the early phase of this study, key barriers to government-provided MCH services were identified. Based on a comprehensive review of the literature, the introduction of a voucher scheme was raised for consideration by ministry of health decision-makers and respective stakeholders. Despite the successful experience of this financing strategy in low-income countries, a series of surveys, an economic evaluation, and focus group discussions were carried out to assess the feasibility and potential health and economic implications of this scheme in the Myanmar context. The research findings were then used to guide the design and adoption of the newly established initiative.

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