In the developing world, those
in poverty underutilise the health care that is available to them, and
furthermore spend income on ineffective solutions. Much of the effective health
care available is cheap and readily available, with high levels of marginal
benefit, particularly for the poor. These effective solutions are largely preventative
and have low associated costs. Measures include vaccination programmes,
improved sanitation and increased usage of mosquito nets. There are numerous
reasons why there is underutilisation. On the supply side the barriers revolve
around access and the quality of healthcare provided: resource allocation is
insufficient leading to substandard quality healthcare and a lack of essential
services that leads users not to bother, furthermore resource allocation is
inefficient as it is focused for example on providing services in urban areas
where they fail to benefit the rural poor who could benefit much more. In
conjunction with this there are barriers that stifles the demand for healthcare,
economic constraints restrict their ability to consume and their preferences
and behaviour affect their desire to utilise the available healthcare. By
nature, supply and demand behave cyclically and supply goes hand in hand with
demand and it is problematic to attempt to extricate fully one from the other.

Going forward, I will focus on the factors that repress demand and some of the
behaviours that result in effective solutions being underutilised, and then
give some solutions that can improve up these problems.

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