We are happy to announce that iDSI has been awarded a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in India to significantly scale up our work in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) in the country. This grant was awarded as an extension to our existing IDSI funding to engage with global policymakers, academics, and think-tank institutions towards health system strengthening.
The award of this funding allows IDSI partners, in particular the Global Health and Development Group at Imperial College and HITAP in Thailand, to provide intensive contextually-tailored technical assistance to the government of India through our partnership with the Department of Health Research (DHR) in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This technical assistance will be targeted towards improving priority setting in Health in India through institutionalising HTA as a means to more evidence-based, transparent, and equitable decisions for health resource allocation.
IDSI’s technical advisor for India, Dr Laura Downey, spent time in Delhi between July and September working closely with our partners at the Department of Health research to strategize and plan for this programme. During this time Laura, our consultant on the ground Dr Abha Mehndiratta, and the DHR team lead by the Sec health Dr Soumya Swaminathan and joint secretary Mr VJ Gauba, worked together to write a Concept Note on HTA in India and the formation of a Medical Technology Advisory Board (MTAB). This Concept Note was approved by the Honourable health minister, Mr J.P Nadda, and MTAB is now in the process of being officially convened. This is an important and exciting first step towards legitimising HTA and the associated processes of stakeholder engagement, transparency, and evidence-based decision making in India.
In order to provide tailored technical assistance for this programme of work, IDSI have developed a strategic roadmap for institutionalising HTA in India. This roadmap builds from our extensive collective experience in assisting international policymakers to improve their priority setting mechanisms using HTA, and also from the policy brief publishing by HITAP and the World Health Organisation on factors conducive to HTA in Asia. Areas of technical assistance are focused broadly on technical capacity building and training, committee and procedural development, political economy and stakeholder engagement, research and methodology, and conducting pilot HTA projects. This will be an intensive and ambitious programme of work to be carried out over 3 years in the first instance. IDSI also welcomes collaboration in the area of training and procurement processes from the Wessex Institute at Southampton University, who are international leaders in health technology assessment and related processes and methods.
This is an exciting milestone in IDSI’s engagement with our partners in the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at DHR, and we look forward to rising to the challenge.