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Research Activities

Research Projects

FY 2007/2008 Research Topic: 4-27
Health Services and Poverty: Making Health Services More Accessible to the Poor


Health has become an increasingly critical concern in the context of poverty reduction. Poor people suffer most severely from ill health and disease; by the same token, people are more likely to fall into poverty when they are ill. Reflecting this vicious cycle of poverty and ill health, health is a focal issue in development. In fact, three of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) require substantial improvements in health by 2015.

Although international concern on health is increasing, health outcomes do not appear to be improving at a steady rate. A fundamental problem is that necessary and affordable services do not reach those in need. What factors hinder the poor from accessing the health care services they need? On the demand side, family characteristics, such as level of education, have an effect on the behavior of the poor when they are seeking health care services. Other issues, such as the provision of health goods and services, or the financing of health systems, involve the supply side. Limited capacity for the provision of health services in developing countries is a critical concern in the health sector and a major bottleneck to improving the access of the poor to health care services. This supply side issue is our underlying focus in this study.

In this context, this research program particularly focuses on health financing systems, health personnel or medicine/treatment, and external financial resources for health, which are critically important for improving the capacity of health service provision in developing countries. Through this project, we will distill lessons that are relevant to improving the accessibility of health care services for the poor.


April 2006 - March 2008



Members of the Research Project

ITO Seiro
KUBO Kensuke
YAMAGATA Tatsufumi
II Masako (Professor, School of International and Public Policy (IIP), Hitotsubashi University)
ITO Banri
YAMANE Hiroko (Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies [GRIPS])