Research to policy

PRICELESS SA research enables smart decisions about health policy and investments in South Africa and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and across the continent.
Research to policy

Research and independent analysis are the central drivers of what PRICELESS does. We manage complex projects in health econometrics, health economic evaluation, and legal and policy analysis. We also develop innovative methods and tools in all these areas. Our research provides evidence to policymakers to improve resource allocation, reduce waste and get a better return on investment for health in the South African population.

Over the years we have seen the translation of our research into policy. We are also directly involved in policy development in South Africa, with members of staff appointed to a number of ministerial advisory committees.


PRICELESS SA has an active econometrics team.

Economic models play an important a role in analysing health systems, explaining how various factors affect health outcomes, and forecasting future impacts on population health.

For example, the mathematical modelling to show the impact of a tax on sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption must be able not only to show a decrease in consumption of SSBs but also the future health impacts and benefits, as well as broader changes in industry and consumer behaviour.

Some ongoing projects

  • Evaluating the SSB tax in South Africa
  • Evaluating the Ideal Clinic Intervention in South Africa

Health economic evaluation

PRICELESS SA applies economic evaluation methodologies that are context-specific, and which can assist in informing budget allocation decisions.

Resources in any country are always finite, and the public purse needs to be used to maximum effect. Tough choices have to be made about which health interventions to fund – or not to fund. The challenge applies to all countries, including high-income countries, but it is especially acute in settings like ours where resources are more constrained. Economic evaluation measures the costs and impacts of health interventions.

Key research areas

  • Mother and child health
  • Vaccines
  • Non-communicable diseases
    1. Diabetes
    2. Hypertension
    3. Obesity

Legal and policy analysis

PRICELESS SA is a leader in the analysis of policies for health.

Healthy public policy is the cornerstone of a healthy population. Linking with econometric studies and economic evaluations, policy analysis interrogates policies’ ability to support the health system and health outcomes.

Key research areas

  • Sugar sweetened beverage policies in sub-Saharan countries
  • Food policies to support healthy eating in South Africa and other sub-Saharan countries
  • Limiting salt in processed food

Methods and tools

PRICELESS SA develops context-specific methods and tools for health priority-setting and public engagement.

Key research areas

  • Developing an ethical framework for health technology assessment (HTA) in South Africa
  • Modifying and applying a tool for community priority-setting to improve child nutrition in the first 1,000 days
  • Modifying, applying and evaluating a tool for priority-setting for health in rural Mpumalanga
  • Developing a cost-effectiveness threshold for South Africa

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