Exploring the Role of the Public and Private Funded Primary Health Care Facilities for Children in a Pluralistic Health Care Setting of Barbados: One of the English Caribbean Countries

Alok Kumar, Keerti Singh, Kandamaran Krishnamurthy, Anders L. Nielson


Background: The major objectives of this study were to evaluate the existing primary health care service provisions in the public and private sector and utilization of the services, and to assess the existing manpower and material resources.Methods: Data were collected through interviews with the primary health care providers. Data were also collected from the records maintained at the polyclinics and the Ministry of Health Statistics. An analysis and discussion of all the available data was conducted to develop a comprehensiveprimary health care service utilization and resources inventory at the polyclinics. Similar data were collected from the primary care providers in the private sector.Results: In the public sector, there are 8 polyclinics that provide primary health care to the children. All the polyclinics have immunization services and curative acute care. Some of the polyclinics have a range of services, including dental care, eye care, and rehabilitative care services that common to both adults and children. In the private sector, primary health care is delivered through the 76 private office and of the individual physicians and 11 grouped private practices. All of the private offices and group practices have curative acute care for children and some of the offices have immunization services. Over all 87.5% of all the immunizations were done at the polyclinics. Over all 60.1% of acute care visits were to the private sector and 39.9% to the public sector. In the public sector, 59.5% were under 5 years children while 40.5% were5 years or older. The corresponding figures in the private care settings were 80.9% and 11.9%.Conclusions: The findings demonstrate the complimentary role of the public and the private sector in the primary health care of children in this country. While the private sector has a major role in the curative acute care of children, the public sector plays a pivotal role in the immunization services.Key words: Children, pluralistic health care setting, primary health care

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