Conference Costs/Benefits of HIV/AIDS Interventions Developing Countries

Policymakers researchers to discuss economic evaluation

Boston, MA -- In 2006, almost $8.9 billion has been allocated to finance the global response to AIDS, but it falls short of the needed $14.9 billion, according to UNAIDS. National governments, especially those hardest hit by the epidemic, must meet the challenge of maximizing treatment and prevention strategies for the welfare of their citizens given finite economic and social resources. The HIV/AIDS Interventions in Developing Countries: Using Cost Benefit and Cost Effectiveness Analysis to Help Guide Policy and Action conference will attempt to address these issues.

The conference, which will be held Wednesday, September 13 to Friday, September 15, 2006 in Boston, will gather field practitioners, government officials in developing countries, and leading researchers in health economics, infectious diseases, and public policy to discuss how economic evaluation tools can be used to create locally appropriate solutions. Participants will also address crucial policy issues and recommend how economic evaluation can inform policy decisions.

The conference will be hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Dean Barry R. Bloom. Joy Phumaphi, Assistant Director-General of Family and Community Health of the World Health Organization will give opening remarks on Wednesday, September 13. Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS will give a keynote speech on Thursday, September 14.

Dr. Richard Marlink, professor of the practice of public health at Harvard School of Public Health, who is the lead organizer of the conference said, "This Harvard-wide conference will be a landmark meeting for researchers and policymakers to meet in person and constructively discuss major HIV/AIDS and costing issues that both parties grapple with in their work. Over these two days, we will work together to develop adaptable economic models that will ultimately help individuals and communities affected by HIV around the world."

"Unfortunately it is now become clear that this epidemic is going to be with us for many decades to come. It's important, therefore, that we -- as researchers-- provide the empirical evidence and costing tools that policymakers can use to maximize health benefits and achieve long-term sustainability," noted Dr. Marionette Holmes, health economist with Harvard School of Public Health.

The preliminary program can be found at http://www.aids.harvard.edu/conferences_events/2006/cbce2006.html

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This conference is made possible by the generous support and partnership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Fogarty International Training Program in AIDS-related Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative, Harvard University Centers for AIDS Research, Harvard University Program on AIDS, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, The Merck Company Foundation, National Institute of Mental Health, World Bank, and the World Health Organization.

Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 300 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 900-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit: www.hsph.harvard.edu


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