Global Health Priorities

Disease Control Priorities Third Edition out: new editorial in IJHPM by Ole F. Norheim

The editorial emphasizes that publishing evidence on economic evaluations on how to best invest in health in an equitable way – presented in DCP3 – is crucial, but not sufficient. Now is the time for the real work to begin. Evidence must be translated into practice in order to create actual changes that will benefit the lives of citizens and patients worldwide, particularly the least well off. Norheim proposes specific ways in which this can be done.

Disease Control Priorities third edition (DCP3)
DCP3/World Bank

Main content

Disease Control Priorities (DCP) is an up- to-date comprehensive review of the efficacy, effectiveness and cost- effectiveness of priority health interventions with the goal of influencing program design and resource allocation at global and country levels. DCP3 volumes present systematic and comparable economic evaluation of selected interventions, delivery platforms, and policies based on new analytical methods and incorporates evidence on intervention quality and uptake, along with non-health outcomes such as equity and financial protection.

Read more about DCP3 here.

Several countries have expressed interest in using DCP3 evidence to better prioritize health related efforts, but the question is how to do it. Norheim discusses and suggests concrete things that needs to be in place to enable countries to spend money on health in an efficient and equitable way based on solid evidence generated by DCP. This is crucial in order to move towards Universal Health Coverage as fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals for health (SDG3) and poverty (SDG1) by 2030.

Norheim argues that preconditions for better priority setting includes accurate DCP evidence that is accessible and user-friendly, strengthened capacity and level of technical expertise to translate such evidence, and finally: political will to make it happen. Short-term outputs should include the involvement of the academic sector in the given country, country-specific publications and reports on priorities – and the participation by key actors in debates on the way forward. The long-term outcomes are, among other factors, a health financing and priority setting unit or establishment of a national health technology assessment agency – both preferably under the Ministry of Health.

Full text of the editorial titled A Theory of Change Is Needed for Translating Evidence to Health Policy, published in International Journal of Health Policy and Management, July 30, 2018.

References, Theory of Change (Fact box):

  • Breuer E, Lee L, De Silva M, Lund C. Using theory of change to design and evaluate public health interventions: a systematic review. Implement Sci. 2016;11:63.
  • Vogel I. Review of the use of theory of change in international development. London, UK: Department for International Development (DFID); 2012.