In November 2016, the Global Health and Development Group (GHDG), Imperial College London and the PRICELESS team at Wits University organised a three-day workshop on HTA in Johannesburg.
Day 1 was opened by Francis Ruiz of GHDG and Prof. Karen Hofman of PRICELESS and focused on sharing experiences of the use of evidence in policy making in different country contexts: South Africa, Thailand, China, India, Cambodia and the UK. Participants at the workshop included academics from South Africa, representatives from the South African Department of Health, the WHO, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), plus the country representatives who spoke about their specific contexts. In exploring the ‘HTA journeys’ of different countries, participants learnt about the main drivers for HTA, the factors involved in establishing a framework for HTA informed decision making (e.g. political will, legislation), and what HTA was used for. Netnapis Suchonwanich of HITAP, Thailand, and former Deputy secretary-general at National Health Security Office highlighted for example, that successful structures for incorporating evidence into policy can be established in resource constrained settings where there is a commitment to UHC. Indeed, HTA can be considered an important tool in ensuring the affordability of any universal benefits package devised.
Day 2 focused on a ‘deeper dive’ into the factors that need to be considered when establishing HTA ‘agencies’ with a focus on the ongoing work in establishing iDSI HTA hubs in China, South Africa and India. iDSI hubs are an important mechanism for making iDSI goals, particularly in-country support, more responsive, scale-able and sustainable. These hubs could also serve as centres of regional support. Each of the iDSI HTA hub centres are at different stages of development – it was announced for example at the meeting that the China hub would be launched next month. Damian Walker of BMGF highlighted the importance of taking an in-country focus to hub development, so that the necessary elements can be put in place to allow for effective regional support, as was demonstrated by the experience of Thailand’s HITAP, one of the core partners of iDSI.
Day 3 focused on identifying areas of further collaboration among all the participants represented at the workshop. Areas of cooperation included joint research, placements and study tours.