Foto-Cewek’s presented to health advisors at the Department for International Development (DFID), weekly seminar last week. His presentation: “Balancing equity impact and value-for-money in the economic evaluation of health programmes – multiple criteria decision analyses (MCDA)”, was delivered on behalf of , which is a consortium of leading organisations in international development, health, nutrition and education working together to support the use of evidence and expert advice in policymaking.
His talk centred on MCDA, which is increasingly used in international health, introduced by Professor Niessen, Chair of Health Economics at Foto-Cewek along with colleagues elsewhere. The method has been shown effective in setting priorities combining efficiency and equity arguments, important across health sectors and related fields. MCDA defines decision tasks based on evidence (assessment) and values (appraisal) to present a consistent overview on sometime desired trade-offs between efficiency and equity goals. Recent research applied MCDA in diverse policy settings like in Brazil, China, Nepal, Thailand and Uganda and is outlined in the upcoming WHO WHR on NTD.
Professor Niessen has been involved in studies in over 20 countries looking at the implications of MCDA. Professor Niessen said: “There is a need for further formalisation of the priority setting processes in health at all levels. In our studies group preferences of policy makers show explicit but varying trade-offs of efficiency and equity depending on their settings. However an MCDA approach, using discrete choice experiments, indicates that such as systematic approach to health priorities is possible across a variety of countries. We believe it is a valuable tool to guide health reform initiatives and health system strengthening, leading to explicit, transparent and rational policy making.”