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Pre conference workshop Economic Evaluations of Public Health Interventions
Amsterdam, EUPHA 2010
Public health economics was one of the themes of a pre conference at the 3rd European Public Health Conference in Amsterdam that took place from 10-13 November of 2010. Around 40 people participated at this pre conference. In four presentations the main topics in Public Health economics were introduced and illustrated. Economics is concerned with allocation of scarce resources in society over alternative uses. Some different types of evaluations were shown. The preference (utility) based health measure QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Years) was explained and discussed. In general methods for economic evaluations can be applied for evaluation of Public Health interventions. This was illustrated by a presentations on the economic impact of prevention strategies in tackling obesity. This study showed some good results in improving population health and decreasing health expenditure. However in many Public Health areas the effectiveness of public health interventions is still limited and should be assessed carefully concerning assumptions, costs calculated and models used.
More attention should be paid to inter-sectoral effects, equity considerations and a societal perspective in performing economic evaluations. Finally the involvement of relevant stakeholders is key to the success of Prevention.
The chair of this meeting concluded that Public Health and Economics could make a good couple. However for a longstanding relationship, we should put more effort in the evidence base of Public Health interventions. It is important that Public Health interventions demonstrate value for money!