This project aims to build an international center of excellence for supporting health policies by research in two ways: by improving the efficiency of healthcare budget allocation using health technology assessment (HTA) and by training early career researchers and policymakers with the aim of strengthening healthcare financing systems and promoting universal health coverage (UHC) in low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa.
UHC would ensure that all people have access to quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. As the promotion of UHC is one of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), it is a top policy agenda in international development policies. However, in low- and middle-income countries currently, even some basic health services are not always provided to the public due to limited healthcare resources. For this reason, efficiently prioritizing the allocation of healthcare funds is of particular importance in UHC policy. To achieve this, it is urgent that a transparent, evidence-based decision-making process be established, especially because the introduction of such a mechanism for the application of the policy present challenges for many countries.
In recent years, HTA has been increasingly introduced internationally as a policy tool and process for improving the efficiency of healthcare budget allocation. The HTA process comprehensively evaluates economic efficiency, ethics, equity, and other values to inform funding decisions. However, low- and middle-income countries often lack the human resources and knowledge to implement this policy, and they therefore require support.
To solve these problems, this project established an HTA consortium, mainly consisting of the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP) under Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Research Center for Health Policy and Economics in the Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS Health) at Hitotsubashi University. Through the help of the Southeast Asia Partnership for Policy and Health Intervention Research and Evaluation (SAPPHIRE), this consortium has provided academic and technical support to the promotion of UHC policies in Asia and Africa, with a special focus on basic research and policy advisory activities, to allow for the introduction of HTA policies and programs in order to foster young researchers and policymakers.