Role of data from cost and other economic analyses in healthcare decision-making for HIV, TB and sexual/reproductive health programmes in South Africa

By  Joshua Murphy  Sharon Kgowedi  Nalini Naidoo  Sarah Girdwood  Dr. Lise Jamieson  Djøra Soeteman  Stephen Resch  Professor Gesine Meyer-Rath  |  | 

An increasing focus on the use of the results of cost analyses and other economic evaluations in health programme decision-making by governments, donors and technical support partners working in low- and middle-income countries is accompanied by recognition that this use is impeded by several factors, including the lack of skills, data and coordination between spheres of the government. We describe our experience generating economic evaluation data for human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis and sexual/reproductive health programmes in South Africa alongside the results of a series of in-depth interviews (IDIs) among decision-makers within the South African government and implementing organizations (data users) and producers of economic evaluations (data producers). We summarize results across (1) the process of implementing a new intervention; (2) barriers to the use of cost data and suggested solutions and (3) the transferability of experiences to the planned South African implementation of universal health coverage (UHC). Based on our experience and the IDIs, we suggest concrete steps towards the improvement of economic data use in the planning and the establishment of structures mandated under the transition to UHC. Our key recommendations include the following: (1) compile a publicly available and regularly updated in-country cost repository; (2) increase the availability of programmatic outcomes data at the aggregate level; (3) agree upon and implement a set of primary decision criteria for the adoption and funding of interventions; (4) combine the efforts of health economics institutions into a stringent system for health technology assessments and (5) improve the link between national and provincial planning and budgeting.

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Health Policy and Planning Journal