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      Primary care in Caribbean Small Island Developing States : How do organisation of primary care systems and health relate?

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          Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) made good process on improving the health of their populations; but concerns exist when it comes to meeting changing health needs. Due to remoteness and limited resources it is difficult to respond to high rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Furthermore, little is known about how primary care (PC) is organised and how this responds to current health issues. This study focused on gaining insights in the organisation of PC of Caribbean SIDS based on currently available literature. This literature review was an explorative multiple case study, where structure of PC and health status of 16 Caribbean SIDS were reviewed using available scientific and grey literature between the years 1997 and 2014. Thirty documents were used to analyse 20 indicators for the dimensions “Structure of Primary Care” and “Health Status”. Results were mapped in order to identify if there is a possible relation between structures of PC to the health of the populations. When reviewing the structure of PC, the majority of information was available for “Economic conditions of PC” (78%) and the least information was available for “Governance of PC” (40%). With regards to health status, all islands show improvements on “Life expectancy at birth” since 2007. In contrast, on average, the mortality due to NCDs did not improve. Saint Lucia performs best on “Structure of PC”. The British Virgin Islands have the best health status. When both dimensions were analysed, Saint Lucia performs best. There is still little known on the responsiveness of PC of Caribbean SIDS to NCDs. There is a need for elaborate research on: (1) If and how the functioning of these health systems relate to the health status; (2) What islands can learn from an analysis over time and what they can learn from cross-island analysis ; and (3) Filling the gaps of knowledge which currently exist within this field of research.

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          Most cited references 27

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          This essay provided the introduction to a workshop in Bellagio, Italy, on the subject of translating research into policy for equity in health. The essay first defines equity in a way that facilitates its assessment and monitoring and then summarizes evidence from existing research. Directions for developing policy strategies follow from these principles. The role of health services in influencing the distribution of health in populations is discussed in the special context of primary-care-oriented health systems that are, at the same time, more effective, more efficient, and more equity producing than is the case for specialist-dominated health systems.
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              The "brain drain" of health care workers: causes, solutions and the example of Jamaica.

               Aisha K Lofters (corresponding) (2012)
              Despite much media attention being given to the physician shortage in Canada in recent years, this shortage pales in comparison to that seen in many middle- and low-income countries. A major cause of the shortage in these countries is the migration of health care workers from developing to developed nations, a phenomenon known as the "brain drain". The loss of these workers is having devastating impacts globally, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Causes of the "brain drain" are numerous and include poor working conditions in poorer countries and active recruitment by richer countries. Jamaica has been one of the countries in the Caribbean hardest hit by mass migration of health care workers. The multiple dimensions of Jamaica's health worker "brain drain" illustrate both the complexity of the issues reviewed in this commentary, and the net loss for low- and middle-income countries. Creative and sustainable solutions to the problem are actively being sought globally, but will require commitment and support from all nations as well as from international funding bodies if meaningful impacts on health are to be realized.

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                ScienceOpen Research
                20 May 2015
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                [1 ]Athena Institute Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Global Health Next Generation Network, Barcelona, Spain
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author's e-mail address: jdkranenburg@ 123456gmail.com
                © 2015 J.D. Kranenburg and D.R. Essink.

                This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .

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                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, References: 55, Pages: 11
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