Unit | Household Economics and Health Systems Research

The main objective of the Household Economics & Health Systems Research unit is to study the interactions between individuals and the larger health system environment, with a particular focus on human behavior, as well as individual incentives and constraints. Most of the traditional public health literature has had a strong societal or population-level focus, with relatively little attention given to the decision processes underpinning the behavior of individuals and their families.

Identifying the motives and constraints underlying individual decision making is not only critical for understanding specific health behaviors, but also for designing the most effective interventions to achieve improved health outcomes. Through an explicit multi-disciplinary focus on the interactions between individuals, households, policy makers and the larger health system, our objectives are to 1) identify and overcome barriers to the adoption of healthy behaviors; 2) to improve health systems performance; and 3) to quantify the economic consequences of improved health at the individual and population level.

People in line to get their prescriptions, Morogoro

Health Systems Governance in Ghana and Tanzania

The project intends to address two related public health challenges in Ghana and in Tanzania: how can the excluded population be better identified and reached to be included in financing protection mechanisms and how can accountability mechanisms and civil society improve health system governance to support the implementation of inclusive and sustainable social health protection systems. The project will contribute to increase access to higher quality, more accountable and better governed health services. The results are expected to reveal opportunities or problems with regard to governance, in particular involving the civil society, in enhancing design and implementation of social health protection. Read more.

Human African Trypanosomiasis Modelling and Economic Predictions for Policy

This project (HAT MEPP)  is an international, multidisciplinary research project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support planning and implementation of Gambian HAT interventions through the use of mathematical modelling predictions and economic analyses. Our group is part of a team of modellers and economists, led by the University of Warwick, working with key partners in HAT-affected countries to develop regional, policy-ready modelling frameworks and produce predictive results that support decision-makers in the national control programmes. 

Caregiver Reported Early Childhood Development Instruments (CREDI)

Despite a remarkable increase in early childhood development related research globally, internationally validated measures of child development remain scarce. The Caregiver Reported Early Development Instruments (CREDI) were designed to offer a population-level measure of early childhood development (ECD) for children from birth to age three. As the name suggests, the CREDI exclusively relies on caregiver reports, and thus primarily focuses on milestones and behaviors that are easy for caregivers to understand, observe, and describe. To date, the CREDI has been used in over 20 countries. Further information on the project website.

(Photo: Global Health Africa)

Data for Health

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems are essential to produce timely and reliable vital statistics on births, deaths and causes of death to inform public health policy; respond to emerging health needs and epidemics; and document progress towards Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2015, Swiss TPH has collaborated with the Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative (D4H) to strengthen CRVS systems in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our role is to think “out of the box” to find ways to improve CRVS system’s performance through research and innovation. For more information, visit the website of the Bloomberg D4H Initiative.

WHO Verbal Autopsy Reference Group

Reliable and comparable data on the levels and causes of mortality are cornerstones for building a solid evidence base for health policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation. For settings where cause of death cannot be medically ascertained, e.g. for deaths that occur in the community, verbal autopsy (VA) can be used. VA uses information obtained from the caregivers of recently deceased individuals, which is interpreted by physicians or analysed by computer algorithms to obtain the most probable cause of death – which is valid for application at the population level.
For the purposes of standardization of VA methods, quality assessment and combination of data from different sources, considering international collaboration is required - the WHO constituted the “WHO VA Reference Group” (VARG). Visit the VARG website for more information.


Global Health Africa - Circulating Knowledge and Innovations

This interdisciplinary research project investigates knowledge, practices and applications related to the improvement of health and healthcare which have been developed or designed in Africa, and have become – or have the potential to become – relevant to questions of health globally.

A collaborative project between the University of Basel, Swiss Institute for Tropical and Public Health, and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EFPL), it brings together experts in African history, public health and urban planning working with African partners in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire. It is a Sinergia project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Visit the project website

Aransiola T.J et al. Current and projected mortality and hospitalization rates associated with conditional cash transfer, social pension, and primary health care programs in Brazil, 2000-2030. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(4):e247519. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.7519

Arsenault C et al. Health system quality and COVID-19 vaccination: a cross-sectional analysis in 14 countries. Lancet Glob Health. 2024;12(1):e156-e165. DOI: 10.1016/s2214-109x(23)00490-4

Aryal A, Clarke-Deelder E, Phommalangsy S, Kounnavong S, Fink G. Health system utilization and perceived quality among adults in Lao PDR: evidence from a nationally representative phone survey. BMC Public Health. 2024;24:565. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-024-18039-2

Aryal A, Clarke-Deelder E, Phommalangsy S, Kounnavong S, Fink G. Health system inequities in Lao People's Democratic Republic: evidence from a nationally representative phone survey. Trop Med Int Health. 2024(in press). DOI: 10.1111/tmi.13997

Avezum Á et al. An intersectoral approach to hypertension care: solutions for improving blood pressure control in São Paulo, Brazil. Am J Hypertens. 2024;37(5):366-378. DOI: 10.1093/ajh/hpae005