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The economics of paediatric cancer in four Eastern Mediterranean countries: a comparative assessment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of global oncology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Feb 2020

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Cancer is a leading cause of death among children in the Eastern Mediterranean space, where conflict and economic downturn have been placing additional burden on the health sector. In this context, using economic evidence to inform policy decisions is crucial for maximising health outcomes from available resources. We summarised the available evidence on the economics of paediatric cancer in Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and Turkey.
METHODS: Scoping review of seven academic databases and grey literature pertaining to paediatric cancer in the four jurisdictions published between 01 January 2010 and 17 July 2019. Information was extracted and organised using an analytical framework that synthesises economic information on four dimensions: the context of the health system; the economics of healthcare inputs; the economics of service provision; and the economic consequences of disease.
RESULTS: Most of the economic evidence available across the four jurisdictions pertains to the availability of healthcare inputs – drugs, human resources, cancer registration data and treatment protocols – and individual-level outcomes, either clinical or health-related quality of life. We identified little evidence on the efficiency or quality of healthcare inputs and of paediatric cancer services. Moreover, we identified no studies examining the cost-effectiveness of any intervention, programme or treatment protocol. Evidence on the economic consequences of paediatric cancer on families and the society at large was predominantly qualitative.
CONCLUSION: The available economic evidence on paediatric cancer care in the four countries is limited to drug availability and patient outcomes, with a substantial gap for drug quality, service provision efficiency and cost-effectiveness data. Links between researchers and policymakers must be strengthened if paediatric cancer spending decisions, and ultimately treatment outcomes, are to improve.

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