Health economic analyses that simultaneously address the concerns of increasing population health and reducing health inequalities require information on public preferences for using healthcare resources to reduce health inequalities and how this is valued relative to improving total population health. Previous research has quantified this preference in the form of an inequality aversion parameter in a specified social welfare function. This study aimed to elicit general population’s views on health inequality and to estimate an inequality aversion parameter in Uganda.
Adult respondents from the general population were recruited and interviewed using survey adapted from an existing questionnaire, including trade-off questions between 2 hypothetical healthcare programs. Data on participants’ demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and health-related quality of life measured by 5-level version of EQ-5D were collected.
A nationally representative sample of 165 participants were included, with mean age of 37.1 years and mean 5-level version of EQ-5D at 0.836. Most respondents indicated willingness to trade-off some total population health to reduce health inequality. Translating the preferences into an Atkinson inequality aversion parameter (14.70) implies that health gain to the poorest 20% of people should be given approximately 6 times the weight of health gains to the richest 20%.
Our study suggests it is feasible to adapt questionnaires of this type for a Ugandan population and this approach could be used to measure public aversion to health inequality in other settings. The elicited inequality aversion parameter can be used to support the assessment of health inequality impact in economic evaluation in Uganda.
Fan Yang Kenneth R. Katumba Giulia Greco Janet Seeley Elizabeth Ekirapa-Kiracho Paul Revill Susan Griffin