Political epidemiology towards infectious disease management primarily identifies needed factors for the evaluation of the efficacy of policies. These factors comprise of cases of incidence, mortality, and demographic values. Factors like existing policies and programmes for the eradication and control programmes help in comparison and assessment of infectious disease management programmes (Taylor, 2009). In addition, they also help the government in the allocation of funds for the local and other healthcare initiatives. The commonly used factors in establishing the efficacy of policies include;
- Population displacement or forced migration.
- Environmental policies.
- Expenditure evaluations.
- The influence of multinational companies on national economies.
- The effects of decisions made by pharmaceutical companies on the prognosis.
Allocation of funds for disease management
The political epidemiologists help in translating scientific knowledge into evidence frameworks (Gil-González, et. al., 2009). It contributes towards the effectiveness of the healthcare policies aimed at achieving for the reduction in the prevalence of infectious diseases. In India, there are mainly two healthcare initiatives that look after public healthcare. National Health Mission (NHM) and healthcare initiatives under 5-year plans. Political epidemiologies have helped in the formation of various health policies in India.
- First national health policy (1983),
- second national health policy (2002),
- healthcare objectives of the 5-year national plan and
- national rural health mission (2005) which aims at improving the health status of the rural population by controlling various diseases.
Moreover, it also focuses on the identification of areas that are vulnerable to malaria and other infectious disease incidences. For instance, Odisha reports the highest cases of malaria, therefore, the Government is bound to provide sufficient budgets for malaria management under the NHM and allowing the local government of Odisha to incept new state-based healthcare initiative like the Mukhyamantri Swasthya Seva Mission. Various factors are considered under the allocation if the healthcare budget such as:
- The population of the urban,
- rural, and the tribal people living in the state,
- per capita income of the population,
- healthcare spending capabilities of the rural and the tribal population, and
- the demography of the people being impacted by malaria.
The results from the epidemiology study help to initiate new strategies like the invitation to private third parties and foreign investments to support the cause as opted by the government of Odisha. The Government of Odisha has joined hands with Glocal Health Care Systems Private Limited, Christian Medical College, Narayana Hrudayalaya and LV Prasad Eye Institute to help provision of better healthcare to the rural and the remote population of Odisha (Government of Odisha, 2017). In addition, the studies of political epidemiology have also formed the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative that is mainly focused on controlling and managing the prevalence of malaria in the state.
Making new policies from the results of political epidemiology studies
Political epidemiology identifies all the government policies launched in a particular area that aims to prevent and eradicate a disease like malaria on the nation and the state level. Research strategists then perform statistical assessments of the variables that include demography and the expenditures by the local governments and the healthcare initiatives. Analysis of the results reveals the efficiency of the government policies and loopholes in the policy. An efficiency check of preventive measures allows the government to take upon different strategies and estimate future budget plans for the development of public healthcare. Initiatives mainly include the assistance of private parties and foreign investments. Thus, political epidemiology towards infectious disease management has an important role in incepting strategies for malaria control.
- Gil-González, D., Ruiz-Cantero, M. T. and Álvarez-Dardet, C. (2009) ‘How political epidemiology research can address why the millennium development goals have not been achieved: Developing a research agenda’, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 63(4), pp. 278–280. doi: 10.1136/jech.2008.082347.
- Government of Odisha. (2017) Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Initiative in Health Sector in Orissa, Retrieved from http://health.odisha.gov.in/PDF/ppp-health.pdf
- de Leeuw, E., Clavier, C. and Breton, E. (2014) ‘Health policy – why research it and how: health political science’, Health Research Policy and Systems. BioMed Central, 12(1), p. 55. doi: 10.1186/1478-4505-12-55.
- Taylor, S. (2009) ‘Political epidemiology: Strengthening socio-political analysis for mass immunisation – lessons from the smallpox and polio programmes’, Global Public Health, 4(6), pp. 546–560. doi: 10.1080/17441690701727850.