Health Economics Program

The Health Economics Program (HEP) of the UP School of Economics began with the pioneering efforts of Dr. Alejandro N. Herrin to obtain grants for health economics research and support for graduate students interested in health issues in the early 1980s. Since then, the HEP has sought to: (1) train skilled professionals who can undertake economic analysis of health and development issues; (2) undertake academic as well as policy-oriented research on health issues; and (3) disseminate research-generated information and knowledge relevant to health and development policy to a wide audience of policy makers, stakeholders and the academe. Its main activities are supervised and implemented by the Health Economics Program Committee which consists of full-time faculty members who count health economics among their areas of expertise.

The training objectives of the program are fulfilled through regular course offerings in health economics at the undergraduate and graduate level, support to thesis and dissertation writers dealing with economic analysis of health issues, and participation in the design and conduct of training curricula in health economics and policy analysis. The HEP has regularly offered undergraduate Health Economics (Economics 186) as well as graduate Health Economics (Economics 286) and Health Policy (Economics 287) electives. These courses provide basic training in application of economic concepts and tools to the analysis of health and health system issues. Theses and dissertation writers whose topics are related to health have been supervised by members of the HEP committee. From 1991, at least 6 PhD and 13 MA/MDE graduates have written dissertations or MA theses in health, including three of the current members of the committee. Other recent graduates have gone on to positions in the academe, while a number of alumni are now actively involved in health policy work. Committee members have also developed course materials and curricula for health economics and health policy modules of various training programs of the Department of Health (DOH) intended for both national and LGU level health workers and stakeholders. These training programs include the World Bank (WB)-DOH Flagship Course on Sustainable Financing and the DOH Introductory Course on Principles of Health Systems Reform. Members of the committee have also served as lecturers in these training programs.

Members of the HEP have extensively participated in local and international academic and policy oriented research projects, in their individual capacities as well as through UPecon Foundation, Inc . These have led to extensive and intensive contributions to health policy development not only in the Philippines but also in such countries as China, Vietnam and Indonesia. In the last two decades, they were part of the implementation of the: (1) WB/DOH -Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS)– Philippine Health Development Program (1990-1995) which provided baseline information on health care financing in the Philippines, (2) United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Health Policy Development Program (HPDP) in 1992-1996, which led to the design and institutionalization of the Philippine National Health Accounts, the drafting of the 1995 National Health Insurance Act which created PhilHealth, and the design of the Comprehensive Health Care Agreements (CHCAs) between the DOH and local governments, (3) WB /DOH – Health Sector Reform Project (2003-2005) which led to the preparation of the World Bank loan agreement for National Health Sector Support Program of the DOH, (4) USAID-Philippine Tuberculosis Initiatives for the Private Sector Private Provider Study (2004-2006) which provided information on private provider knowledge, attitude and practice of TB-DOTs, (5) US National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Quality Improvement Demonstration Study (2003-2008), which analyzed the impact of health sector reforms on child health using a randomized experiment, and (6) European Union -GTZ Technical Assistance to the Health Sector Policy Support Programme (TAHSHSP, 2007-2010) which provided assistance to the DOH in systems changes. Members of the HEP are currently involved in the implementation of the second USAID funded Health Policy Development Program (2006-2012), the European Commission (EC) funded Health Equity and Financial Protection in Asia (2009-2013), and the AusAid supported University of Queensland project on Investment Case for Financing Equitable Progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 (2009-2011).

HEP research dissemination activities include the conduct of regular seminars, participation in local and international conferences and publication in international journals. Papers arising from the HEP research work have been published in such journals as the Social Science and Medicine, Health Policy and Planning, Health Economics Letters, Health Economics, Journal of Pediatrics, Singapore Economic Review, Philippine Review of Economics, Philippine Journal of Development, and Lancet, among others. Works in progress have also been circulated as part of the UPSE Discussion Paper Series.

HEP members have also provided advice to the top leadership in the DOH, participating in the crafting of the Health Sector Reform Agenda (HSRA), its advanced implementation framework FOURmula One (F1) for Health, and more recently the Aquino Health Agenda-Universal Health Care (AHA-UHC). Technical assistance has also been provided to local government units. HEP members have also provided advice and assistance to multilateral and bilateral institutions such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the USAID, and the EC.

In implementing these activities, members of the HEP have collaborated with local and international institutions such as the University of the Philippines College of Medicine- Department of Clinical Epidemiology (UPCM-DCE), University of California Berkely-Institute for Global Health, the University of Queensland School of Population Health and the Australian Knowledge Hub, and the Erasmus University-Rotterdam, among the more recent ones. HEP members have also worked with a network of researchers and health professionals spanning multiple disciplines including demography, medicine, clinical epidemiology, statistics, and public administration.

For more information, email the Health Committee members:

  • Joseph J. Capuno –  jjcapuno@gmail.com
  • Marina Fe B. Durano – mbdurano@econ.upd.edu.ph
  • Stella Luz A. Quimbo – stella_quimbo@yahoo.com
  • Orville Jose C. Solon – jose_orville.solon@upd.edu.ph