Evaluation framework study assessing the role, applicability and adherence to good practice of planning support tools for allocation of development aid for health in low-income and middle-income countries

Itamar Megiddo, Shona Blair, Davood Sabaei, Francis Ruiz, Alec D. Morton

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Abstract

Objectives: Allocation of development aid for health is controversial and challenging. In recent years, several planning-software tools have promised to help decision-makers align resource allocation with their objectives, more clearly connect prioritisation to evidence and local circumstances, and increase transparency and comparability. We aim to explore these tools to provide insight into their fitness for purpose and suggest future directions to fulfil that promise. Design: We identified seven tools that met the inclusion criteria and developed an evaluation framework to compare them along two dimensions for assessing fitness for purpose: ability to produce analyses adhering to principles laid out in the International Decisions Support Initiative (iDSI) Reference Case for health economic evaluations; and resources required, including expertise and time. We extracted information from documentation and tool use and sent this information to tool developers for confirmation. Results: We categorise the tools into evidence-generating ones, evidence-syntheses ones and process support ones. Tools’ fitness for purpose varies by the context, technical capacity and time limitation. The tools adhere to several reference case principles but often not to all of them. The source and underlying assumptions of prepopulated data are often opaque. Comparing vertical interventions across diseases and health system strengthening ones remains challenging. Conclusions: The plethora of tools that aid priority setting in different ways is encouraging. Developers and users should place further emphasis on their ability to produce analyses that adhere to prioritisation principles. Opportunities for further development include using evidence-generating tools and multicriteria decision analysis approaches complimentarily. However, maintaining tool simplicity should also be considered to allow wider access.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere069590
JournalBMJ Open
Volume13
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • development aid for health
  • health planning tools
  • prioritization

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