OECD and the European Observatory on Heath Systems and Policies joined forces to conduct a study on the economics of public health and health promotion. This study will provide a first opportunity to comprehensively review the case for investment in actions to prevent key non-communicable diseases, accidents and injuries across different sectors, in a policy relevant fashion for the whole of the WHO European Region.
The study brings together contributions from leading authorities in the economics of public health, health promotion and disease prevention not only in Europe but at a global level. It will lead to the publication of a book in the Autumn of 2013, which will be aimed to provide policy makers in the European region and beyond with a clear overview of the evidence in support of investment in tackling key risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases.
The study is primarily focused on interventions addressing behavioural risk factors, such as diet and physical activity, alcohol and tobacco consumption. But it will also look at risk factors for widespread mental health conditions, accidents and injuries, and aspects of the physical environment in which we live that may affect the health of adults and, especially, children.
Broader, cross-cutting, issues will also be addressed in the study, such as the role of interventions on the social determinants of health, with an entire chapter dedicated to the role of education and educational interventions. The study will look at the equity implications of public health actions. If the uptake of a public health intervention is higher in more affluent groups one unintended consequence of investment in that programme may be to widen health inequalities. The study explores how equity concerns have been addressed in economic evaluations of public health interventions and looks at ways in which such concerns might be routinely incorporated into economic evaluations in this area.
The study places a special emphasis on the context in which interventions are to be implemented and how this impacts on cost effectiveness, for instance, looking at issues in respect of workforce capacity and skills, or the role of key stakeholders in policy design and implementation, or, in the case of behaviour modifying interventions, looking at factors that may encourage uptake and continued use where appropriate.
Franco Sassi, email@example.com.