Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is an important tool for prioritising health resources in India’s journey towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), this was one of the key take-home messages from a workshop delivered by iDSI this month.
The workshop was the first in a series that are designed to help build capacity for undertaking HTA in India; and come as the Global Health and Development team at Imperial College London have signed a Letter of Understanding with the Department of Health Research (DHR) within the Government of India, who are leading on an exciting initiative to institutionalise HTA.
Over 30 attendees gathered in Delhi for the workshop which focused on introducing participants to the key concepts of evidence-based priority setting and HTA, how to frame an economic evaluation, and how to identify key stakeholders for consultation throughout the HTA process.
Senior Scientist Dr Kavitha Rajsekar discussed the importance of HTA for India and gave an update on the latest developments on HTA in India. Ensuring that an evidence-based, inclusive, and transparent system is put in place via the HTAIN will aid health resource allocation decisions across the country.
Associate Prof Shankar Prinja presented the results of the cost effectiveness of auto disposable syringes, one of the first studies to be approved by the HTAIN Technical Appraisal Committee which has resulted in the government of Andra Pradesh using results to inform their decision to invest in autodisposible syringes to reduce rates of infection due to needle re-use in the state.
Alex Winch discussed what UHC means for India and how establishing fully functioning HTAIN centers will provide a sound basis upon which health resource allocation decisions can be made in India, to ensure that every rupee spent buys the maximum health possible.
Dr Laura Downey and Dr Pankaj Bhaguna outlined what evidence is required to undertake HTA analyses, drawing from their own experience of conducting HTA in India; and their recent publication on identifying publicly available data sources for HTA in India.
Dr Oshima Sachin presented on how evidence for health costs is being collected by the HTAIN and a network of partners from across India to form a common costing database, which iDSI is providing technical advice and assistance with.
Dr Aamir Sohail introduced the concept of equity and ethics in informing HTA in India; and shared his experience of conducting a literature review on equity to inform the intraocular lens HTA undertaken by the HTAIN secretariat at DHR.
Juliet Eames and Saudamini Dabak of HITAP Thailand introduced the concept burden of disease and measuring quality of life to estimate Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs), as well as Disability Adjusted Life years (DALYs).
The presentations stimulated lengthy discussions amongst participants as to the challenges of conducing HTA in India, when such evidence is often not available and not routinely collected.
A follow up workshop will be held in three months’ time and iDSI is pleased to report feedback received from participants to this workshop was overwhelmingly positive, with 75% of participants reporting they plan to use the skills and knowledge that they had learned during the course towards undertaking a policy-relevant HTA study.