iDSI caught up with Technical Analyst Dr Mohamed Gad, a Health Economist and qualified GP who has practiced all over the world, ahead of the annual Health Technology Assessment international (HTAi) meeting in Vancouver next week.
- You have led on developing a symposium that will be delivered at HTAi 2018, what will this focus on?
The symposium will focus on the policy implications of the first Health Technology Assessment (HTA) study in Ghana, which modelled different policy scenarios for the cost-effective management of hypertension. This study involved iDSI working with Ghanaian partners, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health in Ghana, on an approach to HTA to directly address policy challenges faced by the country, such as the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
- What is HTA and why is it important?
HTA measures the added value of a new health intervention compared to existing ones. Cost and health consequences of using new interventions such as medicines, medical equipment, diagnostic and treatment methods, are analysed and information about the medical, social, economic and ethical issues related to the use of a health intervention are also taken into consideration.
HTA is important because decision-making in health care is necessarily complex. Efficient and fair resource allocation is an essential but difficult task; the application of HTA can provide valuable information to prioritise and allocate budgets to the most cost-effective activities.
- How was hypertension in Ghana chosen as a priority topic?
Hypertension is a risk factor for NCDs and hypertension rates in Ghana are rising (37% of adults in Ghana were classed as hypertensive in a 2017 WHO study). Treating NCD events is costly, so it is in the interest of any country to avoid and treat them in cost-effective ways. When iDSI worked with our Ghanian partners one of our goals was to target priority decision problems, such as hypertension; and reinforce the link between HTA capacity-building efforts.
- What can conference delegates who attend your symposium expect?
Attendees to our symposium will have the chance to hear practical examples from the hypertension HTA study and learn about how we collaborated with academia and government in Ghana. The panel will describe the study results, the policy relevance and how the study differs from standard non-public health or non-policy oriented studies. We will also give details on how the impact of the study has resulted in in a strategic plan for HTA institutionalisation and a national medicines policy in Ghana. A short video on IDSI’s impact in Ghana will also be shown.
The panel will consist of international global health experts I work closely with from Ghana’s Ministry of Health, Imperial College London, the University of Queensland and George Washington University. iDSI Director Professor Kalipso Chalkidou will moderate. We look forward to lively and productive dialogue; and for anyone not at HTAi this year a round-up blog post will be posted on the iDSI website shortly after the conference.
Conference delegates can attend the session, called ‘Towards UHC in Africa: Policy implications of Ghana’s first HTA study’, on Monday 4 June as part of HTAi 2018 of which the overaching theme is ‘strengthening the evidence-to-action connection’.
Find out more at www.htai2018.org