It is claimed that the impacts on health have been be positive

These NGO and community based services have been reported to:

  • provide higher quality services, particularly in relation to drug availability, although the evidence on this is not consistent;
  • provide a lobby for equity in health, such as for gender sensitivity or the needs of especially vulnerable groups;
  • draw attention to and stimulate commitment to health policies which protect the interests of the poor;
  • act as an intermediary between communities and government;
  • provide technical skills;
  • use participatory and consultative approaches, adapted to local conditions, although not always consistently so;
  • be more efficient operationally than state services, with lower costs per visit, more patients seen and more efficient drug procurement, although studies have not indicated systematic evidence for this;
  • use innovative, results-based management systems, but with external funding, sometimes undermining local accountability
  • reach remote areas poorly served by government facilities and, in some countries, provide the only form of health care or social welfare accessible to the poorest and most vulnerable groups;
  • innovate and disseminate good practice to other NGOs or the state sector, e.g. PHC, integration of traditional medicine (WHO, 1997; Robinson and White, 1997; WHO, Government of Ireland, 1997; Brown & Ashman, 1996).

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