"Does Public health expenditure affect health outcomes in times of crisis?" : evidence from 28 middle income countries in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

Ayomide Oluwaseyi OLADOSU (Presenter), Hamzah Nor BIN AEDY RAHMAN (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


It is a common belief that increasing public health expenditure will subsequently result in good health outcomes, or at the very least ameliorate health related issues. However, would this also apply in times of crises? Against this particular notion, we investigated the extent of public health expenditure on health outcomes in 28 middle-income countries in Southeast Asia (SEA) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In so doing, we reconceptualised health outcomes by capturing infant, maternal, malaria/dengue, and COVID-19 mortalities which are key indicators of the outcome variables. Given the commitments of both regions to provide better health outcomes to their citizens, as evidenced in their agreement towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and later the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we also attempted to assess the role of public policy via regression analysis using time series data generated from the World Bank and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) from 2000 to 2022. Our findings revealed that an increase in public health expenditure significantly led to a decline in infant, maternal, and malaria/dengue mortalities in both SEA and SSA. Surprisingly, we observed a positive association between public health expenditure and COVID-19 mortality – although only significant in SSA – indicating that an increase of public health expenditure would have resulted in an increase of COVID-19 mortality. Our results suggested that increasing public health expenditure may not always be the most important factor for governments to consider in an attempt to reduce mortality in times of health-related crises.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2022
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference: Health and Wellbeing in (Post-) Pandemic Times - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 3 Dec 20223 Dec 2022
Conference number: 23


ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference
CityHong Kong
OtherAs an unprecedented public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the focal concern of sociologists around the world. Globally, there have been over six hundred million confirmed cases, including over six million of deaths. Over the past few years, we have experienced the tremendous impacts brought by the pandemic on various domains of life. Apart from infected and death cases, we have seen a surge of mental health issues, suicides, domestic violence, as well as plummeting economic growth and escalating unemployment and poverty rates. Whether to embrace the “new normal” by easing public health and social distancing measures is a contentious issue as much among world leaders as ordinary citizens. From a sociological perspective, most impacts brought by the pandemic are believed to be structural and long lasting. As not everyone has equal access to vaccines, personal protective equipment, healthcare and other resources, health and social inequalities are expected to be worsening. There are also concerns about the lack of affordable childcare and technological equipment for attending online classes during pandemic times, which would have lingering effects on education, digital, and social inequalities across generations.

Against this background, this conference aims to address the pressing issues of health and wellbeing in pandemic and post-pandemic times from a sociological perspective. It provides a platform for scholars, students, and other stakeholders to discuss the implications of the pandemic for health and social inequalities among other issues. On that basis, participants will explore practical and policy responses to enhance health and wellbeing in the (post-)pandemic condition.
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