Vici grant for Rob Baltussen

Baltussen , Rob

Dr Rob Baltussen (Primary and Community Care) has been awarded a prestigious NWO Vici grant of 1,5 M€ for the project 'Balancing efficiency, equity and feasibility in HIV treatment in South Africa - a revision of theory and tools for priority setting in health care'.

The global fight against HIV/AIDS took a dramatic turn in 2011 with the proof that antiretroviral treatment can greatly reduce the probability of HIV transmission. South Africa, which has the greatest HIV epidemic worldwide, is now rapidly scaling up its HIV treatment programme. However, there are major concerns regarding the efficiency, equity, and feasibility of the programme. Unfortunately, present theories and tools for health care priority setting do not account for all these concerns. In the absence of appropriate guidance, the design of the HIV treatment programme is far from optimal.

Baltussen's study aims to fundamentally revisit the theoretical framework of health care priority setting. He will integrate two increasingly important priority setting frameworks: i) multi-criteria decision analysis to construct an evidence-base for the efficiency, equity, and feasibility of programme options, including trade-offs; and ii) accountability for reasonableness to foster procedural fairness. He will implement the forthcoming tool in South Africa to guide HIV treatment priority setting and evaluate its impact in a before-after design.

The study can have tremendous impact on international guidelines, national programmes, and local priority setting practices around HIV treatment. The resulting integrated framework is applicable to many other health programmes and will critically advance the science of health care priority setting worldwide.

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