Madore A, Rosenberg J, Dreisbach T, Weintraub R. Positive Outlier: Health Outcomes in Kerala, India over Time. Harvard Business Publishing. 2018.Abstract

    This case explores how Kerala, India developed a reputation for exemplary health outcomes despite low per capita income. After providing historical background, including the social, political, and health system factors that contributed to a culture of seeking health care, the case describes Kerala’s health system and outcomes. The case describes how the fiscal decline in the latter half of the 20th century led to decreased spending on public services, including health, creating an opening for private-sector providers to meet a growing share of the demand for health services and the impact on out-of-pocket health spending. Readers must think about how emerging health threats such as noncommunicable diseases should be addressed in the 21st century, including the health department’s response and a new initiative to increase capacity in the public health sector, including efforts to improve the quality and reliability of health data through an electronic medical record system. The case concludes with Additional Chief Secretary for Health and Family Welfare Rajeev Sadanandan wondering if the new strategy will succeed and if Kerala can maintain its status as a positive outlier in health for the decades to come.

    Teaching Note available for registered faculty through Harvard Business Publishing and the Case Centre.

    Learning Objectives: to appreciate the relationships between education, literacy, and health; what the components of a health system are; the limitations of health indicators as measures of a national health system’s effectiveness; and, the challenges of sustaining demand and maintaining the supply and quality of public health services over time.

    Key words: health care policy, universal health care, demand generation, health care delivery, health system, health outcomes, social determinants of health

    Rosenberg J, Dreisbach T, Donovan C, Weintraub R. Positive Outlier: Sri Lanka’s Health Outcomes over Time. Harvard Business Publishing. 2018.Abstract

    This case describes the development and structure of Sri Lanka’s health system, which has yielded health outcomes far superior to any of its South Asian neighbors. The case highlights factors supporting the health outcomes, including the availability of free health services to all citizens, government investment in the health workforce, and the care-seeking behavior of Sri Lankan citizens. After providing an overview of Sri Lanka’s history, geography, demographics, and economy, the case traces the evolution of the public sector health system from the precolonial era through the period of heavy investment in health from the 1930s through 1950s and on into the 21st century. The case describes the management of the system and the relationship between the national health ministry and provincial and local governments. It examines how health professionals are trained and deployed throughout the system, the supply chain, and financing. The case then examines the growing private health sector, its relationship with the public sector, and the role of innovation. After a summary of the country’s health outcomes, readers are pushed to think about what it will take to address the changing epidemiological burden to continue to boast exemplary health outcomes and provide quality health care to those who need it.

    ​​​​​​Teaching Note available to registered faculty through Harvard Business Publishing or the Case Centre.

    A productive class discussion will allow readers to appreciate the capabilities of a public payer system to improve the health of the population; the influence of the private sector in a “single payer system” and the downstream effects on demand and supply of services; the return on investment for a country offering free public medical and nursing education; and the relationship between literacy, demand generation, and health outcomes.

    Keywords: Universal health care, health care delivery, health system, health outcomes, social determinants of health.

    Cuneo CN, Rosenberg J, Madore A, Weintraub R. Improving Mental Health Services for Survivors of Sexual Violence in the DRC. Harvard Business Publishing. 2017.Abstract

    This case explores the implementation and evaluation of mental health treatment for victims of conflict-related gender-based violence (GBV) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian organization based in New York City. Following the contextual background, the case traces the IRC’s work developing a psychosocial support program for GBV survivors starting in 2002. When the Applied Mental Health Research Group (AMHR) at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health evaluates the program in 2008, the IRC begins to consider the potential for its work to inform similar interventions. In 2011, the IRC team collaborated with AMHR to implement two concurrent randomized control trials (RCTs): one on the mental health effects of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and the other on the mental health and financial impact of a social and economic empowerment intervention called the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). While the time and resources that went into completing the trials expanded the monitoring and evaluation capacity within the IRC and added important evidence to the lean body of global mental health literature, conducting the studies stretched the IRC’s local staff thin and required clarification of priorities and purpose. Had the RCTs had been worth it, and for whom? How could the study findings contribute to improving services for vulnerable populations in the region and beyond? 

    Teaching Note available through Harvard Business Publishing.

    Theory of Change
    Source: Study of Effectiveness of a Social-Economic Intervention for Sexual Violence Survivors in Eastern DRC, November 2014.

    Theory of Change 2
    Source: Group Cognitive Processing Therapy: A Specialized Mental Health Intervention that Supports Improvements in Well-being for Sexual Violence Survivors. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, International Rescue Committee.

    Learning Objectives: A productive class discussion will allow students to appreciate the challenge of meeting human resource needs to provide mental health care, the complexity of implementation and empirical study of mental health services, and the ethics and challenges of conducting randomized controlled trials in conflict settings.

    Keywords: public health, human resources, health care delivery, information management, mental health, scale-up, resource-limited settings, health care policy, data collection, public administration

    Talbot JR, Rhatigan J. Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Treatment in Peru. Harvard Business Publishing. 2011.Abstract

    This case traces the development of a multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment program in Peru between 1994 and 1999 by Socios en Salud (SES), a community-based nonprofit organization, in a shantytown of Northern Lima called Carabayllo. After providing some background on existing TB treatment services and the organizational history of SES, it follows the organization up to 1999 and frames its work within the context of international MDR-TB policy. The case presents background information on the epidemiology of TB and MDR-TB in Peru as well as the shantytown of Carabayllo. It describes how SES implemented community-based treatment for cadre of patients with MDR-TB and achieved cure rates comparable with those obtained in the US. The case begins with a vignette that illuminates the problem of MDR-TB from a patient’s perspective and ends with the program needing to strategize about how to scale-up and expand its reach to more patients.

    Teaching Note available through Harvard Business Publishing.

    Outdoor sputum collection booth to prevent TB transmission in (MOH) national hospital in northern shantytown of Peru
    Outdoor sputum collection booth to prevent TB transmission in (MOH) national hospital in northern shantytown of Peru; Credit: Julie Rosenberg Talbot

    Learning Objectives: To understand strategies that innovative programs use to improve access to health care and to explore ways that community health workers can deliver complex medical interventions within well-designed public health programs.

    Keywords: Community health workers, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis treatment, policy change, advocacy