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The Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy

Diversify or Focus? Spending to Combat Infectious Diseases When Budgets are Tight

Diversify or Focus? Spending to Combat Infectious Diseases When Budgets are Tight

The Question

When a health authority has a limited budget, should it focus its resources on one population group or divide its resources across groups?  Which action would minimize the overall burden of disease?

What we found

Taking insights from economics and epidemiology, the model demonstrates that when there is a fixed budget it is most optimal to focus resources on one group.  Furthermore, it is more effective to treat the group with the fewer number of infected people.  These findings run counter to conventional wisdom.

Why it matters

Health authorities often have limited resources when tackling public health challenges.  Research that draws insights from both economic and epidemiological modeling is needed to determine the most effective outcomes.