Major illness in the family has become an important cause of household impoverishment in China and the ex-command economies of Southeast Asia, as these countries have managed the transition to a market economy. This is related to the low levels of government funding of health care and the rising cost of medical care.
The Governments of China and Cambodia have recently announced major policy initiatives to address this problem and the government of Laos is considering similar action. The purpose of this project is to support these initiatives and assess their performance, whilst contributing to international knowledge about how to help households cope with major illness. The study will take place in rural areas in Cambodia, Laos and Hubei and Sichuan provinces in Central China.
In each location, the methodological approach will be that of in-depth case studies, organised as four integrated sub-projects. The first will assess the impact of different types of illness on different types of household and the effectiveness and consequences of the various coping strategies that they adopt. The second will assess the performance and outcome of health assistance schemes. The third will study how provider performance, particularly regarding use of drugs, contributes to the high cost of care and identify realistic strategies for reducing these costs. The fourth will assess political and institutional influences on policy formulation and implementation.
POVILL is a four year European funded project set up to support these initiatives and assess their performance, whilst contributing to international knowledge about how to help households cope with major illness.