Health Policy Research Unit
The Health Policy Research Unit (HPRU) was set up in 1998, to consolidate, continue, and significantly expand the research in the area of health economics and policy in IEG.
The objective of HPRU is to carry out research that is directly relevant to the changing health scenario in India, and the focus is on topics that either are currently of interest to policymakers, or should be brought to their notice.
Thus, the past as well as future research agenda is an amalgam of current topics of interest, as well as new areas where changes are anticipated. The aim continues to be to build up a strong world-class research expertise, to do collaborative research across organizations, institutes, states as well as countries, and to inform policymaking in priority areas.
Some of the major research in HPRU has been in the following broad areas:
(i) Health and poverty, with a focus on human development.
(ii) Health issues of vulnerable populations like the elderly, adolescents, women
(iii) Health financing: alternative modes as well as for specific areas like immunization
(iv) Health insurance in the context of universal coverage and analysis of alternative modes – social, voluntary and community health insurance
(v) Determinants of demand for health care.
(vi) Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS, Cardiovascular Diseases
(vii) International agreements like WTO and GATS in the context of the health sector
(viii) Adoption of health technology
(ix) Costing and cost-effectiveness of health interventions.
While these have been the major areas of focus, the HPRU has from time to time done research on other topics of interest like the economic analysis of the illegal drug market in Delhi and economics of tobacco consumption. The research has expanded to include not only India, but also other countries, especially other South Asian countries.
While a significant part of the funding for its research activities have come from outside, the research agenda has been set by the unit members themselves.
Some of the major funding agencies are: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; UN organizations like the World Bank, WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP; major bilaterals like the DFID, AUSAID, SIDA; international NGOs like the Population Council; and international organizations like the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Centre for Global Development (CGD), Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Ford Foundation etc.
The exceptional quality of research on health in IEG has earned it a reputation of being one of the leading institutes where health research takes place in India. The flexibility in its research agenda and the research freedom offered to its staff continue to be important incentives for both experienced and inexperienced researchers to join the health unit.
In addition to research, HPRU staff has undertaken a variety of training for both government and non-government staff on topics of health economics and policy, as well as applied econometrics for health sector analysis. The staff of HPRU has also been involved in lending technical support to many national and international organizations. Finally, HPRU members have a presence in many high-level committees and advisory groups.
IEG hopes to consolidate its position as a key institute and a leader on research on health economics and policy, and aims to engage policymakers in dialogues and discourses that would effect changes in key decisions and policies in the health sector of the country.