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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Application of Burden of Disease Analyses for Policy, Planning and Management of Health Systems in Developing Countries

Li Liu, MBBS, MHS, Population and Family Health, The Johns Hopkins University, 1620 McElderry Street, Room 11D4, Baltimore, MD 21205, 410-502-6386, liliu@jhsph.edu, Adnan A. Hyder, MD, MPH, PhD, International Health, and Health Policy & Management, The Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Suite E-8132, Baltimore, MD 21205, Richard H. Morrow, MD, MPH, International Health, and Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins University, 615 N. Wolfe St., Rm: E8148, Baltimore, MD 21205, and Abdul Ghaffar, MBBS, MHA, PhD, Health Policy and Systems, Global Forum for Health Research, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Geneva, na, Switzerland.

Methods to measure the burden of disease (BOD) on populations have been applied for decades, but have only received increasing attention in the past twenty years. During this period of time, a number of concerns have been raised with the use of summary measures of population health. Seven BOD studies funded by the Global Forum for Health Research were reviewed to summarize the lessons learned during the process of BOD studies and to reflect on aspects that can be improved. Key methods and results of these studies are summarized and compared. The overall strengths and challenges of these exercises are then discussed, with special emphasis given to questions encountered in developing countries. An extrapolation of these findings to assist with the process of implementing such an exercise at the national level is also addressed. This project has resulted in a book forthcoming from the Global Forum.

The key findings from the work include the following. Summary measures of the BOD in populations based upon the amount of healthy life lost from disability and death have been developed and used. These are important tools for comparison among populations and for assisting in health planning and resource allocation. The conduct of a national BOD study should be valued as an opportunity for developing national capacity. The output of such a study ought to be fully utilized to facilitate public policy-making. BOD studies can also be used to examine the burden of ill health amongst sub-populations; they must be used for ensuring that health-related decisions consider equity as well as cost-effectiveness criteria. Health systems across the world must develop the capacity to respond to changes effectively within the resources of each nation. Timely collection and analysis of appropriate, high quality data to support such evidence are a prerequisite for improving equitable global health development.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Measuring Health Systems Performance

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA