Focusing on Value for Money: delivering introductory course to Unitaid and Global Fund

Alex Winch Jan. 10, 2019

Achieving Value for Money (VfM) is a hot topic in the international development arena, but why is it important, how do we measure it and what role does it play to maximise impact?

As countries move towards Universal Health Care coverage and transition from development assistance for health, there is an even more acute need to establish robust processes for assessing and integrating new cost-effective health technologies: a key pillar of financially sustainable, and transparent health systems.

A key strategy to support enhancing VfM is through the incorporation of context specific and economically informed evidence into all levels of health decision-making.

Last month iDSI was in Geneva running an introductory course for Unitaid and the Global Fund on economic approaches used in public health, with specific reference to HIV, TB and Malaria. The two day course covered:

1. Existing approaches to VfM at the Global Fund and Unitaid
2. The theory behind why priority setting in health is important, methods behind conducting economic analysis and practical applications of priority setting in countries
3. How countries are introducing and developing Health Technology Assessment (HTA) processes on the path to Universal Health Coverage

The course was facilitated by Francis Ruiz and Alex Winch (Imperial College London) along with Professor Alec Morton (University of Strathclyde). The training was organised by Ross Leach from Unitaid and Shufang Zhang from the Global Fund.
Attendees from the Unitaid strategy, results and finance teams joined staff from the Global Fund’s Technical Advice & Partnerships, Health Product Management and Grant Management divisions.

Ongoing iDSI projects in the Philippines and Kenya were referenced, along with practical examples of integrating the STAR (Socio-Technical Allocation of Resources) tool in countries; and a deep dive on how VfM is considered in published literature around Malaria, HIV and Hepatitis C.

At the national level, countries are increasingly developing formalised HTA processes to support evidence-based trade-offs in health, across a range of diseases and for the adoption of innovative health technologies.

At the international level, countries are looking to the development community more and more for guidance and support on incorporating HTA, as expressed in World Health Assembly resolution 67.23 on HTA. iDSI hopes to harness more opportunities to further engage with multi-lateral financing organisations such as the Global Fund, Unitaid and normative technical agencies such as the World Health Organization on the robust use of economic evidence in resource allocation and decision making.