Four takeaways from iHEA 2019, a Swiss summit on health economics

Last month, representatives from the IVAC Economics and Finance (E&F) team attended the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) Congress in Basel, Switzerland.

As new members of Immunization Economics, a specialized group of economists working on immunization, Bryan Patenaude, Cristina Garcia, Gatien de Broucker, and Elizabeth (Libby) Watts had several significant contributions to the biannual conference.

1. Helping quantify losses in productivity from vaccine-preventable illness

The E&F team has been pushing the boundaries of our understanding of productivity loss, or the loss of income due to caregiving and illness, in both its empirical assessment and its integration in modeling the economic burden of disease.

At iHEA, Gatien and Libby (pictured below) led a workshop on Assessing the productivity loss associated with immunization. Libby presented the methodological framework and rationale for modeling productivity loss averted by vaccines, which critically impacts estimates of the economic benefits of immunization, estimates now informing the Gavi investment case and replenishment campaign.DSC03129.jpg

Gatien discussed the strategies caregivers use to cope with missed work days and how that shapes their decision to seek healthcare. Responses from his qualitative interviews about income loss will provide insight into how households manage illness.

2. Enhancing stakeholder engagement in health economics research

At another session, Gatien (pictured below) and Bryan discussed strategies to improve country and stakeholder engagement and the availability of immunization economics data, sharing insights from the DOVE Cost of Illness field studies in Bangladesh and Uganda and other projects conducted with strong collaboration from country and regional partners.DSC03251.jpg

Gatien found that early stakeholder engagement assures more reliable and meaningful cost and utilization data, identifying four types of stakeholders that play key roles in using and generating data:

  • Healthcare professionals understand facility operating costs and differences between local medical procedure and national guidelines—usually due to stock-outs and variations in practices.
  • Public health authorities want to use accurate cost estimates to improve budgeting and provide legitimacy and support to the study.
  • Caregivers and the data collectors themselves also ensure comprehensive and quality data collection.

Gatien, Bryan, Anthony Ssebagereka and Aloysius Mutebi presented Early stakeholder engagement in economic evaluation in Uganda, presenting on lessons from the DOVE project and how DOVE integrated decision-makers at all levels from the Ministry of Health to public and private healthcare facilities into the planning and monitoring phase of economic research (Gatien and Anthony are pictured below).

Local engagement and empowerment proved essential to assess the economic burden of vaccine-preventable diseases, generate data, and apply results to policymaking and program planning.

3. Making health economics come to life through stories

Cristina Garcia (below) presented Making Data Matter: Impactful Results Dissemination Through Storytelling and Stakeholder Engagement, sharing the work she and Katie Gorham are doing to disseminate results from the PneumoNepal project by sharing the stories of the families impacted by severe pneumonia through a series of videos, photo essays, and photo booklets.

Additional information on the PneumoNepal project and resources for storytelling and stakeholder engagement can be found on the PneumoNepal website .

4. Connecting users with real-time vaccine use data

Prepared by Kirthini Muralidharan, Libby Watts, and Maria Knoll, the team presented IVAC’s data visualization platform VIEW-hub at your Fingertips: Freely Available Real-time Monitoring of Vaccine Use, Coverage, and Impact to the community of practice as a resource to provide context for economic evaluations of vaccines and immunization programs.

Explore VIEW-Hub.

You can find more on Immunization Economics at iHEA on Twitter with #ImmunizationEconiHEA

Full list of presentations

Workshops & panels

Elizabeth Watts1and Gatien De Broucker1. Refresher Workshop: Assessing the productivity loss associated with immunization. (Pre-congress sessions)

Annette Ozaltin, Maryam Huda, Arthorn Riewpaiboon, Anthony Ssebagereka2 and Gatien de Broucker1. Country and stakeholder engagement in data work and interpretation. (Pre-congress sessions)

Kelsey Vaughan, Inge van der Putten, Allison Portnoy and Bryan Patenaude1. Improving the availability of immunization economics data for further use. (Pre-congress sessions)

Posters

The team presented several posters during the interactive and eye-friendly #betterposter session and received two best poster awards. Here is the full list of posters:

  • Kirthini Muralidharan1, Elizabeth Watts1, Maria Deloria Knoll1. VIEW-hub at your Fingertips: Freely Available Real-time Monitoring of Vaccine Use, Coverage, and Impact. (Pre-congress sessions)
  • Gatien de Broucker1, Anthony Ssebagereka2, Aloysius Mutebi2, Rebecca Rachael Apolot2, Elizabeth Ekirapa-Kiracho2, Dagna Constenla1and Bryan Patenaude1. Early stakeholder engagement in economic evaluation in Uganda. (Pre-congress sessions) DOI: 13140/RG.2.2.28509.15844
  • Cristina Garcia1, Katie Gorham1, Meeru Gurung3and Arun Sharma3. Making Data Matter: Impactful Results Dissemination Through Storytelling and Stakeholder Engagement. (Pre-congress sessions)
  • Gatien de Broucker1, Anthony Ssebagereka2, Aloysius Mutebi2, Rebecca Rachael Apolot2, Elizabeth Ekirapa-Kiracho2, Dagna Constenla1and Bryan Patenaude1.Stakeholder engagement for reliable data collection in Uganda. (Main session) DOI: 13140/RG.2.2.17603.96806
  • Elizabeth Watts1, So Yoon Sim1, Logan Brenzel1and Dagna Constenla1. Methods for Estimating Productivity Loss Averted due to Vaccination in 94 Low-and Middle-income Countries. (Main session)
  • Cristina Garcia1, Arun Sharma3, Krishna Bista3, Laxman Shrestha3, Dagna Constenla1. Estimating the Impact of PCV Program on Reducing Catastrophic Health Spending and Impoverishment Among Nepali Children Under-Five Hospitalized with Pneumococcal-Associated Disease. (Main session)

Other presentations

  • Bryan Patenaude. Do Changes in Development Assistance for Health Crowd out Domestic Public & Private Investment for Health and What Are the Implications for Health Outcomes? (Main session)
  • Bryan Patenaude. The Value of a Statistical Life in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from a Large Population-Based Survey in Tanzania. (Main session)

1International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University
2Makerere University School of Public Health

3Nepal Paediatric Society

Bryan participated on a panel discussion on improving the availability of immunization economic data.

Two top photos by Sitti Arlinda Rochiadi (kremolens.com)