Intended for healthcare professionals


Cost effectiveness of interventions to tackle non-communicable diseases

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 02 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d7883
  1. Paul Revill, research fellow,
  2. Mark Sculpher, professor of health economics
  1. 1Centre for Health Economics, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
  1. paul.revill{at}

Estimates of “best buys” in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia are a good start, but findings must be assessed within the contexts of particular countries

Six linked modelling studies published on concern the “best buys” among interventions to tackle non-communicable diseases, with results presented at the level of two World Health Organization regions: sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. The studies cover a broad range of clinical areas: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and tobacco related illnesses1; cancers2; road traffic injuries3; neuropsychiatric conditions4; chronic respiratory diseases5; and vision and hearing loss.6 This list is impressive, although obviously not exhaustive. The challenges of generalising the results to the level of world regions can be daunting. In future, more emphasis could be placed on the generation of reliable evidence to inform choices within particular jurisdictions.

The authors’ choice of interventions to evaluate is largely pragmatic—based on the feasibility of delivery within the regions and the availability of evidence, which, in some cases, has been drawn from high income countries. For instance, …

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