Economic Analysis as a Tool for Planning and Evaluation of Public Health Interventions
Keywords:Economic evaluation, public health, decision-making, folic acid, folic acid food fortification, DDC: 610 (Medicine and health)
AbstractThe central problem addressed by the discipline of economics is that of resource scarcity, and so the purpose of economic evaluation is, in a very broad sense, to help decision-makers when addressing problems arising due to the scarcity issue. Therefore, such evidence is generated with the direct intention of influencing policy. Over recent years, there have been repeated expressions of concern about the usefulness of health economic analyses, and responses have tended to centre on questions of how research by health economists can be made more useful and accessible to policy makers. How an economic evaluation can be used in practice, is presented in the case of folic acid food fortification. After the introduction of folate deficiency problem and discussion of strengths and weaknesses of folic acid food fortification, it is demonstrated how an economic evaluation can add value to decision-making process. However, it is important to understand that, even if the best possible economic evaluations were available, they would be only one element in a complex process of decision-making that is also shaped by scientific evidence and political feasibility.
Health Promotion - Concepts, Principles and Strategies