Noemia Siqueira interviewed about her role as a Health EconomistPosted on: April 29, 2019
Noemia Siqueira, the IMPACT TB health economist, was interviewed by the University of Liverpool to discuss health economics in a Brazilian context and her work at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
The interview is in Portuguese but the English transcript can be found below.
Hello! Today, we will be discussing health economics evaluation in a Brazilian context with Noemia Siqueira, who is a health economist from Brazil and works at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK.
Q: To begin, Noemia, can you explain the concept of a health economic evaluation?
A: Economic evaluation studies compare two or more interventions/technologies. These interventions can involve new medications, diagnostic tests and others. Economic evaluations will compare the costs and consequences of these interventions. Costs are always measured in monetary values and consequences can be measured in different ways. For instance, patient quality of life, life years gained, number of additional cases diagnosed with a new diagnostic tool.
Q: Why do you think economic evaluations are crucial to these projects?
A: Economic evaluation can guide the decision-making process providing scientific evidence about costs and consequences of a new technology. Usually, new technologies are more expensive, but also more efficient. For instance, they can diagnose more cases, increase quality and years of life of patients, etc. Therefore, these studies can support the decision makers to invest scarce resources efficiently.
Q: What is the role of economic evaluation to solve the problems of the Brazilian health system?
A: Brazil has a public health system covering more than 60% of the population and economic evaluations can contribute to strengthen the efficiency of public spending. Economic evaluation will indicate which intervention or technology is the best option for the patient and for the health system in terms of costs and consequences. Also, the public health systems, not only in Brazil but elsewhere, have been struggling to keep free access and good quality in the assistance. It has been a challenge to keep the coverage of a growing and ageing population and to invest in increasingly expensive technologies. Therefore, economic evaluation will contribute to the sustainability of the public health system and efficient use of scarce resources.