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Assessing the efficiency of rural health centres in Burkina Faso: an application of Data Envelopment Analysis

  • Paul MarschallEmail author
  • Steffen Flessa
Original Article

Abstract

Background

Effective health care provision benefits from the support of measurement techniques. Contrary to the situation in industrialised countries efficiency analyses in the health care sector in Africa are a very recent phenomenon. Hardly any of the existing studies was conducted at the level of primary care.

Aim

The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to evaluate the relative efficiency of health centres in rural Burkina Faso and (2) to investigate reasons for inefficient performance.

Methods

Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was applied. To account for the situation in that country, the output-oriented approach was used in connection with different returns to scale assumptions. To identify the spatial effect of the catchment area on efficiency the Tobit model was applied.

Results

According to constant returns to scale, 14 health centres were relatively efficient. The DEA projections suggest that the inefficient units were too big to be efficient. Tobit regression showed that the relatively efficient health centres are located close to villages in their catchment area.

Conclusions

For ethical reasons it is not appropriate to try to improve the efficiency of health centres by closing some of them. Their efficiency can be improved and lives can be saved if access to health centres is enhanced.

Keywords

Burkina Faso DEA Efficiency Nouna Primary care 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Ali Sié, Bocar Kouyate, Maurice Yé, Mamadou Mariko and Dimitri Poda for their support during the data collection.

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that there are no relevant associations that might pose a conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Law and Economics, Department of Health Care ManagementUniversity of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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