Introduction to the Special Issue on “The World Health Organization Choosing Interventions That Are Cost-Effective (WHO-CHOICE) Update”

Document Type : Editorial


Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland


The WHO-CHOICE (World Health Organization CHOosing Interventions that are Cost-Effective) approach is unique in the global health landscape, as it takes a “generalized” approach to cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) that can be seen as a quantitative assessment of current and future efficiency within a health system. CEA is a critical contribution to the process of priority setting and decision-making in healthcare, contributing to deliberative dialogue processes to select services to be funded. WHO-CHOICE provides regional level estimates of cost-effectiveness, along with tools to support country level analyses. This series provides an update to the methodological approach used in WHO-CHOICE and presents updated cost-effectiveness estimates for 479 interventions. Five papers are presented, the first focusing on methodological updates, followed by three results papers on maternal, newborn and child health; HIV, tuberculosis and malaria; and non- communicable diseases and mental health. The final paper presents a set of example universal health coverage (UHC) benefit packages selected through only a value for money lens, showing that all disease areas have interventions which can fall on the efficiency frontier. Critical for all countries is institutionalizing decisionmaking processes. A UHC benefit package should not be static, as the countries needs and ability to pay change over time. Decisions will need to be continually revised and new interventions added to health benefit packages. This is a vital component of progressive realization, as the package is expanded over time. Developing an institutionalized process ensures this can be done consistently, fairly, and transparently, to ensure an equitable path to UHC.



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