Surges in demand for health services: evaluating health system impacts and capacity to respond in countries with limited resources

Project description

Title: Surges in demand for health services: evaluating health system impact and capacity to respond in countries with limited resources
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Indonesia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Health
Overall term: 2011 to 2013

Context
Health system capacity is crucially important for developing countries such as Indonesia, which face many different environmental and health risks. Indonesia’s size and demographic characteristics, as well as its decentralised health system present significant challenges when it comes to implementing pandemic containment strategies. The country has already experienced nine cases of SARS, and it has also recorded the largest number of human cases of avian influenza, as well as the highest total number of deaths due to respiratory diseases. Furthermore, Indonesia’s surge capacity – its ability to manage a sudden, unexpected increase in patient numbers – is currently very limited. This must improve if pandemics are to be dealt with more effectively.

Objective
A new policy-tool has been developed for defining and evaluating the surge capacity of health systems. Knowledge and information related to the surge capacity of the health system are available, and health system planners are better able to understand both the existing capacity and the potential needs for resource mobilisation.

Approach
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Faculty of Public Health of the University of Indonesia (FKM UI) are cooperating in an effort to provide new knowledge and information that will help enhance Indonesia’s surge capacity. Taking the surge capacity of health facilities into account will help to improve the country’s national preparedness plans, both for pandemics and disaster management. GIZ’s German Pandemic Preparedness Initiative is providing funding on behalf of German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support the work of this project.

Indonesia was chosen as the location for this pilot study because of the potential dangers it faces. The study will be conducted in two sites in West-Sumatra and Bali. The partners, LSHTM and FKM UI, are working under the guidance of the Ministry of Health to develop a new conceptual and analytical framework that uses both quantitative and qualitative analyses to identify and evaluate ways of improving health system surge capacity. Working closely with research institutions and local policy makers, they will conduct analyses and interviews that should support knowledge transfer while ensuring the development of relevant and acceptable policy options.

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