Investments in health often save more money than they cost because they prevent disease and disability, avoid the need for treatments, and allow people to be more productive. However, it is often easier to see the costs of the investments, because we can add up the actual money spent, for example when buying medicines or delivering health services. In contrast, the benefits and savings are often more difficult to see, particularly for preventative activities that result in not having to pay treatment costs. The fact that benefits are difficult to value can mean that they are not properly accounted for in the context of health policy decisions. Given the difficulty in characterizing the benefits of health interventions and particularly interventions that prevent illnesses and disability, economists and other analysts often resort to asking difficult questions like: How much is a country willing to pay to avoid a case of paralysis from poliovirus? What is the willingness to pay to prevent a loss of productivity or to increase the expected quality and length of life? In the context of developing global, regional, and national policies for managing the risks, costs, and benefits of diseases, like polio, valuation surveys are required to collect data about national costs, values, and preferences associated with disease treatment and prevention. This effort is the first to survey national health policy leaders in all countries to obtain the best available data on national treatment costs and to assess national values for investments in polio prevention and treatment. We plan to use the data that we collect in a comprehensive report that will quantify the benefits and costs of global efforts to eradicate polio.
Information for survey participants:
Motivation: Vaccination programs reduce human suffering and prevent deaths, and as a result they also reduce the costs that individuals and nations pay for short and long-term consequences of infectious diseases. But different nations value the benefits differently and they incur different levels of treatment costs. We hope that you can help us better estimate the true costs and benefits associated with polio immunization and eradication efforts in your country. We know that the questions are difficult to answer, but we ask for your best guesses based on whatever data you have available.
Confidentiality: We need the best information that we can get as we work to characterize the costs and benefits of the global efforts to eradicate polio. We will keep the information that you provide confidential and only report the results that we obtain for all countries aggregated and averaged by 2002 World Bank income group level. This means that no one else will know how you respond to this survey, and that none of the information that you provide will be attributed to you or your individual country. As independent researchers, we will not even share the individual responses with any other stakeholders (including, but not limited to, any collaborators that we work with at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provided the funding for this independent research under contract U66 IP000169-01). We hope that this helps to remove any concerns that you might have about participating or how the numbers will be used. If you still have any concerns, please contact Dr. Kimberly Thompson.
Process: We are contacting the Ministers of Health from each country to request participation. To make participation as easy as possible, we have made the survey available online. This means that anyone who wishes to view the survey and respond is welcome to do so, and we invite your participation. To gain access to the survey, please select the WHO Region for your country below and provide the contact information requested so that we can email you a link to the survey in your preferred language of English, French, or Spanish (we apologize for any inconvenience caused by the lack of availability of the survey in any other languages at this time). The survey includes multiple parts, so if you choose to ask different people to complete different parts of the survey, then they can each provide their contact information to get an email link to the survey form and we will consolidate all of the answers received for each country. Polio experts and health economists in your country may be in a good position to assist you with gathering relevant data or making informed guesses, and we encourage you to seek their assistance if you wish to do so.
Thank you very much for your interest and participation.
Please select the appropriate WHO Region for your country:
Pink - Region of the Americas
Purple - South-East Asia Region
Yellow - Eastern Mediterranean Region
Green - European Region
Red - Western Pacific Region