Cost effectiveness and strategic planning (WHO-CHOICE)

An overview of the rationale, activities and goals of WHO-CHOICE

What is the added value of WHO-CHOICE?

Generalized cost-effectiveness analysis forms the basis of the WHO-CHOICE approach. Uniquely, this method allows existing and new interventions to be analysed at the same time. Previous cost-effectiveness analyses have been restricted to assessing the efficiency of adding a single new intervention to the existing set, or replacing one existing intervention with an alternative. Using WHO-CHOICE , the analyst is no longer constrained by what is already being done, and policymakers can revisit and revise past choices if necessary and feasible. They will have a rational basis for deciding to reallocate resources between interventions to achieve social objectives.

WHO-CHOICE allows comparison of current interventions together with interventions being contemplated for implementation. It takes into account synergies between interventions on the costs and effectiveness from a health system perspective.

How will the results help policy makers?

The WHO-CHOICE databases should not be used in a formulaic way. They reveal a menu of interventions that are cost-effective in each region, a menu that are not cost-effective, and another set of interventions in between. Policy makers could then assess the appropriate mix for their settings, taking into account other goals of the health system as well as the improvement of population health. WHO works closely with policy makers on ways of using the evidence WHO-CHOICE produces to achieve social goals.