With thanks to Liam Crosby
iDSI contributed extensively to the 5th Biennial African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA) conference 2019 (Securing PHC for all: the foundation for making progress on UHC in Africa), including organising 10 sessions and bringing over 30 researchers and experts to the conference, strengthening our collaborations with African partners. The conference occurred as iDSI turns its focus increasingly towards Africa, working to support decision-making and health priority-setting across the continent.
iDSI kicked off the week with a pre-conference session on applying health economics for immunisation, delivered with Teaching Vaccine Economics Everywhere. Through the conference we ran 10 sessions covering a range of topics on how African countries can use clear decision-making processes as they strive towards UHC. These sessions brought practitioners and policymakers together to identify cost-effective pathways towards achieving UHC and primary healthcare (PHC) for all, the theme of the conference.
As importantly, and true to iDSI’s collaborative nature, the conference was a great opportunity for our network to come together. From Australia to Zambia, it was a great chance for us to bring the iDSI family together so that network partners could continue to share knowledge and provide support to policymakers and researchers across the globe.
- There is a huge momentum towards UHC and PHC for all in Africa. With limited resources and growing pressures on healthcare systems, sound decision-making and effective prioritisation will be crucial.
- Supporting country-owned decision-making in Africa requires understand the priorities and values of decision-makers. iDSI should work to support systems that reflect these local principles. Ethical analysis and explicit consideration of equity concerns can guide such work.
- At present, health technology assessment and appraisal across Africa is fragmented. Often small teams, based in health ministries and without explicit remit, are conducting HTA in an ad hocway. There is much value in bringing these users and producers of HTA evidence together; and iDSI is keen to collaborate with AfHEA to develop a community of practice to do just that.
Preconference workshop – Applied Health Economics in Africa Using Examples from Immunization
iDSI’s AfHEA involvement kicked off with a full house at our pre-conference session, delivered together with Teaching Vaccine Economics Everywhere, on applying health economics to vaccines. This session brought together academics, policymakers in health ministries, officials from multilateral organisations, students and others. Opening the session, David Bishai (Johns Hopkins University) spoke passionately about the need to prioritise within available health budgets, emphasising that “saving money is saving lives”.
The session increased understanding of how health economics tools can be used in resource allocation decisions for health technologies including national essential medicines lists and health benefits packages. iDSI’s interactive components brought the session to life and enabled participants to enhance their learning.
- David Bishai: Introduction to Vaccine Economics
- Tommy Wilkinson: Introduction to Priority Setting in Health
- Tommy Wilkinson: Introduction to Economic Evaluation – Using HTA
- Justice Nonvignon: Measuring Costs of Health Interventions
- Ijeoma Edoka: Measuring and Valuing Health Outcomes
- Ijeoma Edoka: Application of Economic Evaluation – Decision Modelling
- David Bishai: TVEE: Creating the Architecture for Sustainable Vaccine Financing
The iDSI-organised sessions brought together health economics, policy and ethics experts from across the iDSI global network.
- Organised session 1: Sound Decisions Making for UHC
- Organised session 2: Teaching Health Economics – a Low and Middle Income Country Focus
- Organised session 3: Agent Based Modelling
- Organised session 4: Addressing Ethics Considerations
- Organised session 5: Approaches for Achieving UHC – Perspectives from Africa and Asia
As part of the main conference break-out session, iDSI members presented their work alongside other leading health economists from across Africa.
- Tommy Wilkinson: Approaches for achieving Universal Health Care: Policy Perspectives from Africa and Asia
- Gavin Surgey: Revision of STG and NEMLIT in Tanzania: a mechanism for introducing HTA?
- Maio Buluwayo: The Potential Impact of a 25% Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages in Zambia
- Sam Hollingsworth: Health technology assessment capacity at national level in sub-Saharan Africa: a survey of stakeholders
- Kim MacQuilkan: How can HTA improve equity, access and quality of healthcare services?
- Kim MacQuilkan: Strengthening Health Technology Assessment Systems in the Global South