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Thanzi la Onse Grant and Establishment of Health Economics and Policy Unit (HEPU)

GCRF Thanzi la Onse (Health of All)

Funded through the RCUK Collective Fund under the ‘Growing research capability to meet the challenges faced by developing countries’ funding call
4 year project (Oct 2017 – Dec 2021)
Core partners: Centre for Health Economics (lead-institute); Department of Politics, York; Imperial College London; UCL; Overseas Development Institute; School of Public Health/College of Medicine/Department of health Systems and policy/University of Malawi; Prof Joseph Mfutso-Bengo is the local investigator and Research Project implementation lead in Malawi; Public Health Institute of Malawi; MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDs; Center for Global Development
Total value: £6,658,461

TLO’s core objective is to improve population health and reduce health inequity in Malawi.  It aims to achieve this by developing a model of Malawi’s health care system which will reflect the health care needs of the population, the resources available (in terms of financial, human and facility resources), and how these resources are currently being deployed.

The model will allow researchers to illustrate how different resource allocation strategies will affect the provision of health care and the subsequent impact on population health, including the extent to which health interventions could be fully implemented, the health losses incurred by implementing some health care interventions and not others, as well as the losses resulting from diverting funds away from one intervention to support the implementation of another.  TLO researchers will work closely with policy-makers in Malawi to support them in using the data produced by the model to inform national health care budgets and resource allocation decisions.

In the long term, it is hoped that by strengthening the local health economics and ethical modelling capacity in Malawi and Uganda (supported by TLO’s capability building activities), the model and value-evidence-informed decision-making processes can be further developed and used as templates to address the resource allocation challenges facing other countries in Africa, starting first in Uganda where the TLO project team has already laid out plans to support decision-makers.

Possible quotes:

“Thanzi la Onse will apply value- evidence and high-quality analysis to support challenging resource allocation decisions in health systems in southern and eastern Africa. The UK has been at the forefront of developing such methods for use in the NHS, and now we have the opportunity to work with international partners to further develop and employ them to meet the varied challenges faced in low income settings.”
Prof. Mark Sculpher, Professor of Health Economics, Centre for Health Economics, University of York – Principal Investigator for Thanzi la Onse.
“Central to any health care system is the health benefits package (HBP) to which the population has access. The Centre for Health Economics (CHE) has previously guided the Ministry of Health in Malawi in the development of its HBP. However, given the vast expenditures by governments, donors and others in global health, the evidence bases upon which HBPs are formed are worryingly limited. Thanzi la Onse will address this and support evidence-informed policy in Malawi, Uganda and the wider east Africa region.”
Paul Revill, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Health Economics, University of York – Programme Director for Thanzi la Onse

“The Ministry of Health has had long-standing relationships with the University of York and other Thanzi la Onse partners to support capacity development in health economics and evidence based medical decision-making in Malawi. The programme will enable us to strengthen and enhance these partnerships, with potentially transformative effects on health care delivery and the health of Malawians over the longer-term.”
Dr. Benson Chilima, Deputy Director of Preventive Health Services, Ministry of Health and Executive Director, Public Health Institute of Malawi.

The Thanzi la Onse programme will help also to strengthen capacity and the research through the establishment at College of Medicine Lilongwe Campus -Department of Health Systems & Policy –Health Economics-Policy Unit (HEPU). HEPU will focus specifically in the areas of health economics, equity, ethics and disease modelling, which will support the ministries of health in using the best available evidence to inform national health policy in Uganda and Malawi. The Ugandan Unit will be headed by
Prof. Janet Seeley, Professor of Anthropology and Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Entebbe, Uganda.