Efficiency of district hospitals in Zimbabwe: Assessment, drivers and policy implications

The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to making progress towards universal health coverage. Unmet health needs are huge and the health system suffers from serious dysfunctions and weaknesses. The situation is further complicated by a weak governance. To address these challenging issues, many of which would require an increase in public health expenditures, the government faces severe macroeconomic constraints. In this context, improving the efficiency of public health expenditures is of paramount importance. This study focuses on the efficiency of district hospitals, whose role is crucial for the strengthening of the health care system and achieving significant results in implementing the universal health coverage. Based on a sample of 31 district hospitals observed from 2015 to 2017 we use the double bootstrap procedure developed by Simar and Wilson to (a) estimate bias-adjusted DEA efficiency scores and to (b) investigate the factors associated with the previously calculated scores using truncated regression. The average efficiency of district hospitals is low and stagnant over 2015–2017. The findings suggest the existence of a significant room for maneuver to get more results with the resources spent. The analysis of the efficiency drivers shows the importance of both supply and demand-side factors, leading to several policy-oriented considerations. The study also highlights important shortcomings in the routine collection of basic data that need to be addressed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Guillon M., Audibert M., Mathonnat J. (2021) Efficiency of district hospitals in Zimbabwe: Assessment, drivers and policy implications, International Journal of Health Planning and Management, forthcoming