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.

Project Website

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 Project Website

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 D4H Initiative 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.

Website of Bloomberg D4H Initiative

AbouZahr C et al. How can we accelerate progress on civil registration and vital statistics?. Bull World Health Organ. 2018;96(4):226-226A. DOI: 10.2471/BLT.18.211086

Arku R.E et al. Elevated blood pressure and household solid fuel use in premenopausal women: analysis of 12 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 10 countries. Environ Res. 2018;160:499-505. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.10.026

Bairoliya N, Fink G. Causes of death and infant mortality rates among full-term births in the United States between 2010 and 2012: an observational study. PLoS Med. 2018;15(3):e1002531. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002531

Cobos Muñoz D, Abouzahr C, de Savigny D. The ‘Ten CRVS Milestones’ framework for understanding civil registration and vital statistics systems. BMJ Glob Health. 2018;3:e000673. DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000673

De Neve J.-W, Fink G. Children's education and parental old age survival : quasi-experimental evidence on the intergenerational effects of human capital investment. J Health Econ. 2018;58:76-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2018.01.008