Asia-Pacific Regional Capacity-Building for HTA Initiative (ARCH)

Aug. 24, 2014

The ARCH initiative for 2014 came to a close at a one-day conference attended by representatives from all the countries that participated in the initiative

November 2014

The ARCH initiative for 2014 came to a close at a one-day conference in Singapore on the 21st November. Representation from all the countries that participated in the initiative attended the conference whose guest of honour was Dr Daphne Koo from the Singaporean Ministry of Health. Dr Khoo explained her journey to HTA and policy making from her background in endocrinology and medicine, and announced her intention to work with NICE International in further developing HTA methods and processes in Singapore.

Further details of the agenda and the presentations made by country representatives who participated in the initiative can be found here:

Francis Ruiz, NICE International provided the closing keynote speech in which he highlighted the formal definition of HTA as – in principle – supporting a range of priority setting questions including those relating to public health interventions. He discussed the technical challenges involved in taking a broad perspective on HTA, particularly the difficulty of obtaining robust RCT data for common public health interventions, and also the need (not unrelated to these technical issues) to contextualise any HTA activity within a policy framework that offers multi-stakeholder engagement and the creation of socio-political legitimacy for the use of evidence derived from HTA and similar other methods. He concluded by referring to the critical role that can be played by multi-country networks such as ARCH, HTAsiaLink and the newly created International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI) in building local technical capacity, promoting methodological development, and driving the uptake of HTA for use in policy making especially in the context of moves towards establishing universal health coverage.

2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Capacity-Building for HTA workshop in Manila

NICE International, along with colleagues, delivered a two-day workshop in Manila on HTA and research needs in relation to tobacco control.

April 2014

Francis Ruiz, NICE International, along with HITAP representatives and colleagues from the National University of Singapore delivered a two-day workshop in Manila on HTA and research needs in relation to tobacco control as part of the APEC funded ARCH initiative. Participants included researchers and policy makers from Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Philippines and Malaysia.

The first day of the workshop involved introductory training on the standard methods and process of HTA including background on its development and its application to support policymaking. Topics covered included systematic review, costing methods, identifying and valuing relevant health outcomes, role of modelling, and exploring uncertainty in economic evaluations. The second day was focused on understanding the current situation with respect to tobacco control among participant countries and the role (if any) that HTA plays in decision-making. In addition there was a discussion on future research work as part of this initiative, with an emphasis on identifying current research and data gaps. Discussions also explored potential opportunities for collaborative research projects led by participant countries, and data sharing within the region.

A second workshop is planned for August 2014 and will include further training and support for any initiated research projects.  Research findings and other outputs from this initiative will be presented at a special conference plannedfor November in Singapore.

Launch of the Asia-Pacific Regional Capacity-Building for HTA Initiative (ARCH)

October 24-25 2013

On 24 and 25 October 2013, at the fringes of a regional WHO meeting in Manila, policy makers, researchers, academics and industry got together to discuss practical ways for building Health Technology Assessment capacity for addressing pressing problems in health policy. The meeting marked the launch of the Asia-Pacific Regional Capacity-Building for HTA Initiative (ARCH) – funded by APEC and led by the National University of Singapore, School of Public Health; the Thai Health interventions and Technologies Assessment Programme (HITAP); the Filipino Department of Health; NICE International (UK) and the University of Twente (Netherlands).

The meeting was hosted by the Filipino DoH and concentrated on the topic of HTA for tobacco control, ranging from national (e.g. WHO MPOWER) and sub-regional to individual smoker interventions. NICE International presented NICEs work in the field, including the NICE/Brunel Return On Investment tool. Professor Klim McPherson of Oxford University discussed the work of the UK Health Forum including the micro simulation models developed by the groups and applied to policy in the UK, USA, OECD, Latin America and Africa.

Over one year, with APEC funding and potential for additional funding from major sources such as the ASEAN Foundation, Rockefeller, the Thai Health Foundation, WHO country offices and private foundations, we agreed to work with researcher/NGO/policy maker teams from a number of countries, including Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, the UK, Vietnam, the Pacific Islands, and possibly from Lao, Brunei and Malaysia, to identify and tackle important policy questions on tobacco control.

Evaluation of the benefits of national taxation policies, individual smoking cessation interventions, cross country model adaptation, burden and cost of disease trend calculation, policy vignettes and baseline data availability assessments are some of the topics put forward by the stakeholders who joined us.

The next step is to launch our website, finalise the problem shortlist and start convening the teams. We look forward to our first training and data sharing meeting to be hosted at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in late January 2014.

This is the beginning of a journey. We hope we can collaborate across the region to raise awareness and build technical and informational capacity for tackling, in an evidence based way, the challenge of tobacco addiction.