WHO guide to identifying the economic consequences of disease and injury

Author(s)/Editor(s): Department of Health Systems Financing Health Systems and Services
Publisher/Organizer: World Health Organization
Publication date: 2009
Number of pages: 136
Language: English


“Distinct from but complementary to clinical or epidemiological approaches to disease burden assessment, analysis of the economic impact of ill-health can address a number of policy questions concerning the consequences of disease or injury. Some of these questions relate to the microeconomic level of households, firms or government – such as the impact of ill-health on a household’s income or a firm’s profits – while others relate to the macroeconomic level, including the aggregate impact of a disease on a country’s current gross domestic product or its future growth prospects.

Resulting estimates - for a particular disease, injury type or for diminished health status in the population generally - can usefully inform decision makers about the overall magnitude of economic losses and their distribution across a number of key drivers or categories of cost. Although insufficient as a basis for setting priorities and allocating resources in health – for which data on effectiveness are also needed – economic burden studies may help to identify possible strategies for reducing the cost of disease or injury via appropriate preventive action or treatment strategies.”