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Assessing the efficiency of rural health centres in Burkina Faso: an application of Data Envelopment Analysis

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Marschall, Paul; Flessa, Steffen

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Abstract Background: Effective health care provision benefits from the support of measurement techniques. Contrary to the situation in industrialised countries efficiency analyses in the health care sector in Africa are a very recent phenomenon. Hardly any of the existing studies was conducted at the level of primary care. Aim: The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to evaluate the relative efficiency of health centres in rural Burkina Faso and (2) to investigate reasons for inefficient performance. Methods: Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was applied. To account for the situation in that country, the output-oriented approach was used in connection with different returns to scale assumptions. To identify the spatial effect of the catchment area on efficiency the Tobit model was applied. Results: According to constant returns to scale, 14 health centres were relatively efficient. The DEA projections suggest that the inefficient units were too big to be efficient. Tobit regression showed that the relatively efficient health centres are located close to villages in their catchment area. Conclusions: For ethical reasons it is not appropriate to try to improve the efficiency of health centres by closing some of them. Their efficiency can be improved and lives can be saved if access to health centres is enhanced.
Keywords Burkina Faso
Classification Sociology of Developing Countries, Developmental Sociology; Medical Sociology; Health Policy
Free Keywords DEA; Efficiency; Nouna; Primary care
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 87-95
Journal Journal of Public Health, 17 (2008) 2
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)