Public health and translational research
An international project based at the Liggins Institute is creating a model to demonstrate the economic, health and social benefits that would be achieved through interventions at the beginning of the life course.
This project based at the Liggins Institute is creating a comprehensive economic model of longitudinal health, socio-economic factors and labour force outcomes. This will enable policymakers to assess the cost-benefit implications of health promotion interventions in specific populations at specific times in the life course. It is increasingly acknowledged that interventions aimed at improving adult health are often instituted too late to reduce the burden of impaired human capital or disease in many populations; however the substantial costs associated with a poor start to life, and the factors which determine it, have not been modelled or calculated.
- Suboptimal development before birth and in infancy reduces human capital and national productivity through effects on growth, labour performance and mental ability.
- In many countries adult chronic diseases arising from a poor start to life have become a major public health concern and have important economic consequences.
- Economies of low and middle-income countries, which are highly dependent on manual labour, are particularly sensitive to effects of such reduced health.
- Globally many public health programmes focus on chronic disease treatment rather than prevention.
- Much data suggests that an approach based on early life prevention of risk will be more cost-effective.
To substantiate this we will develop a model to calculate the total cost of a poor start to life in populations at various stages of the nutritional transition which accompanies economic development.
We have established collaborations with groups which have collected health data over many years in several different countries of low, low-middle, high middle and high national incomes to help policymakers evaluate the benefits and cost effectiveness of health interventions at critical times in the life course.
The University of Auckland, Department of Economics
New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Wellington
International Diarrheal Disease Research Centre: Dr. Dewan Alam,
Federal University of São Paulo: Dr. Alex Ferraro, Prof Marco Barbieri, Prof Marcelo Goldani
State University of Sao Luis: Prof Antonio da Silva
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile: Prof Francisco Mardones
Sunder Lal Jain Hospital: Prof Santosh K. Bhargava
Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi: Prof Harshpal Sachdev, Dr. Poornima Prabhakaran
University of the West Indies: Prof Maureen Samms-Vaughan, Prof Terrence Forrester, Director, Tropical Metabolism Research Institute
King Edward Medical College, Lahore, Prof Shakila Zaman
National University of Singapore: Dr. Saw Seang Mei
University of Southampton: Prof Mark Hanson, Prof Caroline Fall, Prof Keith Godfrey.
United States of America
World Bank: Dr Harold Alderman
University of Pennsylvania: Prof Jere Behrman