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With shifting disease burdens, growing populations, and rising expectations comes a greater focus on value for money. International health funders and agencies want to know how to make the most of money spent by focusing on the highest impact interventions among the most affected populations. Whether through better procurement systems for health commodities, results-based financing, or more detailed assessments of the effectiveness of health technology, CGD’s work aims to make health funding go further to save, prolong and improve more lives.
Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) can help countries attain and sustain universal health coverage (UHC), as long as it is context-specific and considered within deliberative processes at the country level. Institutionalising robust deliberative processes requires significant time and resources, however, and countries often begin by demanding evidence (including local CEA evidence as well as evidence about local values), whilst striving to strengthen the governance structures and technical capacities with which to generate, consider and act on such evidence. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), such capacities could be developed initially around a small technical unit in the health ministry or health insurer. The role of networks, development partners, and global norm setting organisations is crucial in supporting the necessary capacities.
India's Ministry of Health is committed to universal health coverage and has announced its plan to provide dialysis in the face of rising kidney failure. But providing dialysis for all who need it could consume the entire public health budget. Policymakers need to evaluate affordable dialysis options, pay systematic attention to the selection of who will receive dialysis, and put more emphasis on prevention.
At the World Bank’s Annual Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Financing Forum this year, I took part in a mock competition to help determine the topic of next year’s forum. I was up against Larry Gostin, who argued that the 2017 forum should focus on equity and human rights, and Sara Bennett, who made the case for it to be the political economy. My pitch was for the forum to focus on efficiency—or value for money—in UHC reforms, and here’s why.
The International Decision Support Initiative, initially launched as the result of a CGD working group, is scaling up, and that’s good news for people making life-and-death decisions in low- and middle-income countries. It means more data on what works and more guidance on how to get the most out of scarce resources for health.
Policy makers on Capitol Hill have some pressing policy issues to tackle in the coming weeks (like reaching an agreement to fund the government and raising the debt ceiling). Fortunately, one bill that landed on their desk last week shouldn’t require much debate: The PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013.
Many health improving interventions in low-income countries are extremely good value for money. So why has it often proven difficult to obtain political backing for highly cost-effective interventions such as vaccinations, treatments against diarrhoeal disease in children, and preventive policies such as improved access to clean water, or policies curtailing tobacco consumption?
Recently, the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene published a paper by Shepard et al. evaluating the impact of HIV/AIDS funding on Rwanda’s health system. The headline of the press release was catchy and assertive: “Six-year Study in Rwanda Finds Influx of HIV/AIDS Funding Does Not Undermine Health Care Services for Other Diseases. Study Addresses Long-standing Debate about Funding Imbalances for Global Diseases.”
This week, the Global Fund partnership will meet in Tokyo to plan for its fifth voluntary replenishment, covering the period 2017-2019. The stakes are high: in an austere budget climate, the Global Fund’s ability to raise the needed resources—and then to spend them effectively over the subsequent three years—will have outsize importance in determining the trajectory of the historic fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Using publicly available information, we describe all seven DIBs, and evaluate the three “health DIBs” in more detail, comparing their stakeholders, implementation, and outcome structures. We offer three recommendations to improve evaluation and inform development of DIBs in the future.