Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

Using new health economics skills to conduct health financing research in Cambodia

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013

By Chhim Chhun, ReBUILD Researcher for project 1 (health financing), Cambodia team

ReBUILD is keen to develop the capacity of our researchers to deliver high quality, policy relevant research in the areas of health financing and human resources in post conflict contexts. This year, the consortium offered researchers the opportunity to apply for capacity building funds to attend courses / training sessions that are relevant to ReBUILD research. I am looking at health financing from a quantitative perspective in Cambodia and applied to study a short course onHealth Economics in International Development at theInstitute for International Health & Development, Queen Margaret University. The short summer course coveredEconomics of Health Systems and Financing andEconomic Evaluation of Healthcare. I ventured to the beautiful landscape and old architectural sites of Edinburgh to begin my training during August 2013.

The first week of the course provided me with new knowledge in understanding the main types of healthcare systems around the world and its advantages and disadvantages, tax financed healthcare, user charges and health insurance. For the second week, the course introduced different types of health economic evaluation, strengths and limitations; and the techniques to measure and value cost and benefits.

The training course was really important as I am leading project 1 in Cambodia, which focuses on health financing. Specifically, the linkage of the course with ReBUILD is health financing system: tax financed healthcare, user charges and health insurance. Other course contents are also important and provided a broad knowledge of the health sector that is useful for my data analysis and report writing.

During the course, there was also the opportunity to meet fellow researchers from other countries and other ReBUILD team members (I joined the consortium in 2012). The organiser arranged for participants to stay in the same campus at the university, so that we had time to discuss our learning. I felt privileged to be part of discussions around the healthcare system, politics, and economics of participants' respective countries. I hope to continue discussions with my new network of colleagues.

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