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An Ounce of Prevention for a Pound of Cure: Efficiency of Community-Based Healthcare

Antonella Bancalari (), Pedro Bernal Lara, Pablo Celhay (), Sebastian Martinez () and Maria Deni Sánchez ()
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Antonella Bancalari: Institute for Fiscal Studies, London
Pablo Celhay: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Sebastian Martinez: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
Maria Deni Sánchez: Inter-American Development Bank

No 16350, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We study the efficiency in health systems generated by community health teams, a common strategy in low- and middle-income countries for primary healthcare delivery. We exploit the rollout of a nation-wide expansion of coverage to this model in El Salvador. Using a panel dataset of municipalities spanning 2009-2018 from consultation and hospital records of almost 4 million episodes, we show that investing in community-based healthcare, which relied on less-specialized health workers, led to a more efficient allocation of care. Preventive care increased and curative care and hospitalizations from preventable conditions decreased, while coverage in curative care for previously unattended chronic diseases increased.

Keywords: community-based healthcare; efficiency; access (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H21 H51 I15 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 55 pages
Date: 2023-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev, nep-hea and nep-pbe
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