South Africa (PRICELESS)

  • south_africa

Generating Evidence-Based Information for Priority Setting in Health

While South Africa continues to face a substantial infectious disease burden, it is experiencing fast rise in noncommunicable diseases. Increased smoking and lower physical activity rates have led to a high prevalence of diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, in a setting of global financial uncertainty, a resource-constrained environment and donor withdrawal from HIV/AIDS funding, South African health policy makers are increasingly seeking answers on how to achieve greater efficiency and lower cost in delivering health services to the population. Finally, equity of access and coverage is a sine qua non in the South African context.

The Priority Cost Effective Lessons for Systems Strengthening – South Africa initiative (PRICELESS), housed at the University of Witwatersrand Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit, was an effort to respond to those demands. PRICELESS, headed by Dr. Karen Hofman and Prof. Steve Tollman, was made possible by the relationships and interest in disease priority-setting that emerged from the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCP2).  PRICELESS was a DCPN-funded unit from December, 2011 to November, 2012.  

Its goal was to provide country-specific economic analysis to help the Department of Health and other public sector agencies in South Africa allocate resources to make health systems function more effectively and efficiently. Further, the unit aimed to inform the public dialogue regarding health spending. (Media)

DCPN supported PRICELESS in its effort to build sustainable demand for economic analysis within the Department of Health. These efforts informed priority-setting. Some of the activities included:

  • conducting capacity building training workshops for economic evaluation;
  • assisting PRICELESS with economic research to influence multi-sectoral and health sector policy in South Africa; and
  • preparing manuscripts to address a variety of topics related to priority setting in South Africa