GHP Newsletter March 2018
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Newsletter March 2018
We are proud of our PhDs
Global Health Priorities are fortunate to have a steady stream of outstanding PhD candidates. In the last few months, four of them have defended their PhDs:
Mieraf Taddesse Tolla was recruited from the World Bank country office in Ethiopia and will, I am sure, be one of the new future leaders for health in Ethiopia. In her PhD she looked at how much people in Ethiopia actually pay out of pocket for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.  A main finding is that these services push many people into poverty. They should therefore be funded publicly because they do not only save lives, they also provide financial protection and reduce poverty. Mieraf was recently awarded with a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Frode Lindemark is an experienced medical doctor that became interested in the ethics of priority setting in the intensive care unit. He worked on a large dataset from the Norwegian Intensive Registry. Contrary to what we expected, he found that even if intensive care in Norway is costly, those who are admitted benefit a lot and the services are for most patients clearly cost-effective. Even more so if adjusted for the severity of disease. A main conclusion from his work is that the priorities made by doctors in Norwegian intensive care units are sound and reasonable. Frode is now working at the Department of pulmonology, Haukeland University Hospital and is eager to continue research in this area.
Carl Tollef Solberg came to us as a young medical student with a deep interest in philosophy. During his years as a medical student, he managed not only to complete his medical degree, he also completed a master’s degree in philosophy as well as joining the MD/PhD track. After completing “Forskerlinjen” he won a PhD award, spent time at Oxford University, and wrote his PhD on the topic “when is the worst time to die?” In his work, he provides a promising framework for reconciling the philosophical “Badness of Death” debate with larger health policy issues. Carl Tollef now works as an intern at AHUS and is publishing an edited book at Oxford University Press.

Hilde Marie Engjom belongs to the research group Registry-based studies of familial risks, but due to her engagement for global health, we feel we also have a share in her. In her PhD on availability and place of delivery for maternal and perinatal outcomes, she found that due to centralization of birth services in Norway, the proportion of women living outside a 1-hour travel zone increased and that unplanned births outside of institutions was associated with increased risk of perinatal death. A finding of high policy relevance. Hilde now works at the department of gynaecology and obstetrics, Haukeland University Hospital.
On April 13, Kristine H. Onarheim will defend her PhD “Priority to the newborn? Real-life priority setting and intra-household resource allocation for newborn health in Ethiopia”. Here is a quote from one of her interviews: “I had nothing and I sold the only sheep I had to get treatment for my child. Before my child got sick, I was planning for the future; if the sheep gave birth I could send my children to school. So after I sold my sheep, my plan will fail… When the sheep is not there, what would I do in the future?” If you find this interesting, come and listen to her PhD defense with two outstanding opponents: Katerini Storeng from University of Oslo and Jennifer Gibson, University of Toronto.

Best regards

Ole Frithjof Norheim
Professor and Director of Global Health Priorities

Highlighted New Publications
Selling my sheep to pay for medicines

In a new article in BMC Health System Research, Kristine Onarheim and collegues examin how Ethiopian families balance neonatal health and high direct health care costs. They argue that protection against out-of-pocket spending is key as Ethiopia moves towards universal health coverage.

Onarheim KH, Molla SM, Muluken G, Moland KM, Norheim OF, Miljeteig I. Selling my sheep to pay for medicines–household priorities and coping strategies in a setting without universal health coverage. BMC Health Services Research. 2018 Dec;18(1):153.
Pay for performance can enhance equitable health care access and use  in Tanzania

Using data from a large household survey, Binyaruku, Robberstad (picture) and colleagues 
found that pay for performance led to a significant increase in the rate of institutional deliveries among women in the poorest and middle-wealth status households.

Binyaruka P, Robberstad B, Torsvik G, Borghi J. Who benefits from increased service utilisation? Examining the distributional effects of payment for performance in Tanzania. International Journal for Equity in Health. 2018 Dec;17(1):14.
Distributional cost-effectiveness analysis of rotavirus vaccination in Ethiopia

Professor Kjell Arne Johansson has co-authored an article published in Health Policy and Planning discussing how distributional cost-effective analysis can analyse social distribution of costs and health benefits. They use rotavirus vaccination in Ethiopia as a case example.

Dawkins BR, Mirelman AJ, Asaria M, Johansson KA, Cookson RA. Distributional cost-effectiveness analysis in low-and middle-income countries: illustrative example of rotavirus vaccination in Ethiopia. Health Policy and Planning. 2018 Jan 3.

List of all our publications
In the media
Associate Professor Kristine Bærøe wrote a blog post about Health inequalities and professional ethics in OsloMet's blog platform about professional ethics. March 5 2018.

Researcher Carl Tollef Solberg, who earlier this year defended his Ph.D. thesis was a guest in Verdibørsen, a radio show on NRK P2. He was discussing his thesis and the question "when is it the worst time to die?" In Norwegian. January 27 2018.

Professor Ole Frithjof Norheim asked the readers to Test your ethical attitudes! in his column in Dagens Medisin. In Norwegian. January 26 2018.
Other news
Book release
Associate professor Kristine Bærøe has co-editored a new book that discuss  the criteria and considerations that influence every-day decision making and priority setting in the Norwegian health care system.

Kjell Arne Johansson awarded full professorship
Researcher and former Associated Professor Kjell Arne Johansson was evaluated by an external committee and is now a professor in the Global Health Priorities research group at the Department of Global Public Health and primary Care.

Congratulations to new doctors!
Two Ph.D. candidates have defended their thesis the last three months: Carl Tollef Solberg Jan 16 "
Evaluating Deaths: Reconciling the Badness of Death Debate and Summary Measures of Population Health", and Mieraf Tolla Feb 9 "Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in Ethiopia saves more than lives."

Strengthening health priority in Ethiopia with Gates-funding
A grant of 3 million US dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is enabling Professor Ole Frithjof Norheim and his research group to teach health priorities to Ethiopian students.
April 10 - 11 2018: 
Norwegian Global Health Conference 2018, Oslo, Norway

April 13 2018:
Ph.D. public defence Kristine Husøy Onarheim, Bergen, Norway

June 11 - 21 2018:
Bergen Summer Research School, Bergen, Norway

September 13 - 15 2018:
Priorities in Health 2018, Linköping, Sweden
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