OBJECTIVES: Focusing on the East, Central, and Southern African region, this study examines both regional and country-level initiatives aimed at promoting multisectoral collaboration to improve population health and the methods for their economic evaluation.
METHODS: We explored the interventions that necessitate cooperation among policymakers from diverse sectors and the mechanisms that facilitate effective collaboration and coordination across these sectors. To gain insights into the demand for multisectoral collaboration in the East, Central, and Southern African region, we presented 3 country briefs, highlighting policy areas and initiatives that have successfully incorporated health-promoting actions from outside the health sector in Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Malawi. Additionally, we showcased initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Health in each country to foster coordination with national and international stakeholders, along with existing coordination mechanisms established for intersectoral collaboration. Drawing on these examples, we identified the primary challenges in the economic evaluation of multisectoral programs aimed at improving health in the region.
RESULTS: We illustrated how decision making in reality differs from the traditional single-sector and single-decision-maker perspective commonly used in cost-effectiveness analyses. To ensure economic evaluations can inform decision making in diverse settings and facilitate regional collaboration, we highlighted 3 fundamental principles: identifying policy objectives, defining the perspective of the analysis, and considering opportunity costs. We emphasized the importance of adopting a flexible and context-specific approach to economic evaluation.
CONCLUSIONS: Through this work, we contribute to bridging the gap between theory and practice in the context of intersectoral activities aimed at improving health outcomes.