Discussion Paper

Cost-effectiveness of Disease Interventions in India

Dec 13, 2007 | Jeffrey Chow, Sarah R Darley, Ramanan Laxminarayan


Health improvements in India, while significant, have not kept up with rapid economic growth rates. The poor in India face high out-of-pocket payments for health care, a significant burden of infectious diseases, and a rapidly increasing burden of non-communicable diseases. Against this backdrop, the central government has proposed doubling government expenditures on health over the next few years. Planned increases in public spending will involve making difficult decisions about the most effective and efficient health interventions if they are to translate into improved population health. To inform the selection of interventions that should be included in a universal health package, this study generated and reviewed cost-effectiveness information for interventions that address the major causes of disease burden in India. We find that India has great potential for improving the health of its people at relatively low cost. Devoting just one percent of GDP (approximately US$6 billion) to a well-designed health program nationwide could save as much as 480 million healthy years of life.