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Health economic evaluation: cost-effective strategies in humanitarian and disaster relief medicine
  1. Thomas Stewart1 and
  2. P Bird2
  1. 1 Institute of Naval Medicine, Royal Navy, Gosport, UK
  2. 2 Insititute of Aviation Medicine, Royal Air Force, Henlow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Surg Lt Thomas Stewart, Royal Navy, London PO12 2DL, UK; Thomas.stewart116{at}


The health economic evaluation is a tool used in disaster relief medicine to generate a cost–benefit analysis. Like all areas of healthcare, disaster relief operations must use finite financial resources, much of which comes from charitable donations and foreign aid. Interventions can be assessed using cost-effectiveness tools and equity assessments. Through these tools, interventions that maximise benefit for a given cost are highlighted in the immediate rapid response phase where food, clean water and shelter are prioritised, often with military support. Beyond this, applications of technology and pre-response training are discussed as cost-effective investments made in anticipation of a disaster. In particular, novel technology-based approaches are being explored to deliver medical advice remotely through telemedicine and remote consulting. This strategy allows medical specialists to operate remotely without the logistical and financial challenges of forward basing at the disaster site. Interventions in disaster relief medicine are often expensive. A specific and regularly reviewed health economic assessment ensures that healthcare interventions yield a maximal impact while limiting waste and working within the budgetary constraints of a disaster medicine response. This is a paper commissioned as part of the humanitarian and disaster relief operations special issue of BMJ Military Health.

  • health economics
  • telemedicine
  • international health services
  • organisation of health services
  • public health

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. No datasets were generated or analysed for this review.

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Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. No datasets were generated or analysed for this review.

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  • Contributors TAS coauthored this submission contributing to the researching and writing of this article as well as submitting the article. PB coauthored this submission contributing to the research and writing of this article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.