Economic Evaluation: Cost as a Yardstick to Aid County-Level Health Program Design

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

American Evaluation Association Conference: Crossing Borders, Crossing Boundaries (co-sponsored with the Canadian Evaluation Society)


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Conference Dates

October 26-29, 2005

Date of Presentation



Resources for public health programs are limited. Analyzing how funds are spent is a first step in more efficiently using of funds. Public health departments support a variety of programs. Some programs have immediate costs, such as a vaccination; others have costs incurred over time, such as the identification and treatment of tuberculosis. Having a public health department in itself is a resource commitment, for which some resources are fixed, such as building costs. However, other resources are variable, and these are the ones that should be examined when comparing competing programs within the health department’s portfolio. Attaching prices to resource use can be controversial. In addition, costs borne by the public, such as time lost from work to come to the clinic, may affect what outcome the clinic observes for a given expenditure. Taking stock of resource allocation is an important first step in evaluating public health programs.

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