In March 2019, TLO researchers Kenneth R Katumba, Martin Chalkley and Wiktoria Tafesse attended and presented their work at various conferences.
The African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA) Conference 2019: Securing Primary Health Care for all: The foundation for making progress on Universal Health Coverage for al in Africa.
On the 11 – 14th of March 2019, Kenneth R Katumba attended the AfHEA 2019 Conference with the theme: “Securing Primary Health Care for all: The foundation for making progress on Universal Health Coverage for al in Africa.” The AfHEA is a non-political and non-profit-making association based in Accra, Ghana. The overall mission of AfHEA is to contribute to the promotion and strengthening of the use of health economics and health policy analysis in achieving equitable and efficient health systems and improved health outcomes in Africa, especially for the most vulnerable populations.
This year’s conference marked 10 years of the AfHEA. The broad theme acknowledged the important role of public health care in the achievement of universal health care, and how strengthening public health care improves equity, accessibility and quality of care. A well-functioning public health care system will be able to respond to the health care needs of most of the population, including preventive, promotional and non-specialist clinical care, at a much lower cost than if similar services were provided at higher levels of the health care system. Thus, securing public health care for all is a more cost-effective way to move towards the universal health care agenda of any country, particularly for low income and lower middle income countries (LICs/LMICs) where the resource constraints are most severe.
Kenneth provided a 15-minute oral presentation titled “The Cost of Community Outreach as a Tool to Create Demand for Diabetes and Hypertension Screening in Uganda.” Chronic Disease (CD) management is still neglected in LICs/LMICs, and the aim of the study was to demonstrate community outreach as an important and cost-effective tool to create demand for Diabetes and Hypertension (diabetes/hypertension) screening in the general Ugandan population. The study was nested in a 4-year collaborative Health System Strengthening for Chronic Diseases research project and demonstrated that outreach is an important and cost-saving way to create demand for Diabetes and Hypertension screening in general population in Uganda. This work is currently being written up for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
TLO was delighted to support Kenneth in attending this event to share his work, and he was impressed by the quality of work presented at the conference, which he thought to have improved with the years. Having seen the Ghanaian government’s engagement and dedication in working towards achieving universal health care, Kenneth believes that the conference demonstrated that African governments need and can be more engaged both in terms of finance and governance in order to make the road to achieving universal health care successful.
Centre for Studies of African Economics (CSAE) Conference 2019: Economic Development in Africa
On the 17-19th March 2019, Martin Chalkley and Wiktoria Tafesse attended the CSAE Conference 2019: Economic Development in Africa at St. Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford.
The annual CSAE conference brings together researchers from around the world working in all areas of economics related to African development. Martin and Wiktoria were selected to present their paper “Government contracting with faith-based health care providers in Malawi”. This ongoing study is co-authored with Gerald Manthalu and other researchers in Malawi and is part of the TLO ‘Health Economics’ work stream “Markets and Incentives” which focuses on the role of payment mechanisms in the delivery of health care in Malawi.
This paper studies the effects of the Malawian government regulating faith based health care providers. Faith based providers were asked to eliminate user fees with respect to maternal and neonatal health care services and were in return reimbursed for the cost of their health care delivery by the government. The authors use econometric methods to evaluate the effects of the policy using household survey data. The results show that the policy reduced home births and increased skilled birth deliveries at faith based facilities.
The scope of research highlighted the importance for further work to understand how the supply and demand side interact and whether the lessons learned from smaller interventions can be scaled up to nation-wide interventions. Furthermore, the conference offered seven more sessions which explicitly focussed on health which signals the overall importance of health economics in the context of African development.
The CSAE also offered exciting plenaries with the participation of internationally renowned experts in the fields of trade, manufacturing and economic growth. Eliana La Ferrara’s fascinating keynote speech was particularly of interest for TLO. She presented her paper “Fighting HIV with MTV” which studies the effect of a TV programme on behaviour change related to sexual and reproductive health in Nigeria. This work shows novel ways of combating HIV and how economics can help in studying and disentangling the different mechanisms in which such an intervention could affect health behaviours.