Good Practice in Public Health: Thinking About the Economies of Complex Emergencies

Danielle Deboutte


Emergency public health action is often faced with severe constraints. Limited
resources are available to respond to
sometimes-immense initial requirements
and competing needs. Ethical decisions
in public health can only be made when
the decision-maker understands the arguments for
and against, and decides in
the light of this knowledge. Emergency
budgets are not unlimited, have alternative
possible uses, and can easily be
wasted. Yet many aid workers find it
impossible or unethical to consider the
cost of emergency aid.
This paper proposes to consider the use of
economic methods in three ways:
1- to assist with rational decision-making.
2- to offer a tool for continuously monitoring
3- to enable programme evaluation in
terms of cost-effectiveness.

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