Evaluating childhood public health interventions: An exploration of the evidence and methods

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Public health interventions for children (cPHI) aim to improve trajectories throughout a child’s life. Although the benefits may be felt sometime after the intervention, they can be broad and include directly improving health, reducing unfair inequalities and improving indirect factors such as the child’s education. Decisions on how to value PHIs for children and therefore spend limited health resources can be challenging.

A review of previous ways in which cPHIs have been valued in the UK revealed much inconsistency. Analyses demonstrated the impact valuing health inequality impacts has on value for money. The choice of what is deemed ‘unfair’ is also shown to be important. Further analyses revealed indirect factors influence value. A framework is provided to consider how these wider aspects of value can be combined. This has implications for those responsible for commissioning cPHIs tasked with making decisions based on inconsistent evidence on the way cPHIs have been valued in the past.

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Methods of economic evaluation with a focus on public health decision-making in the early years

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