Low cost nudges to patients to improve treatment adherence: do they work?

Universal health coverage and the growing burden of chronic illness are both at the top of the global health agenda. More effective coverage of prevention and treatment can lead not only to substantial gains in population health, but also to higher living standards and economic growth. Understanding why poor people tend not to adopt healthier behaviour is essential to designing policies that can improve population health and narrow health inequalities. This project examines the decision processes that lead people in LMICs to underutilise available, effective preventive and curative care options that could have a large impact on their health and will study which interventions can be effective in incentivizing healthy behaviour. One application is to test the effectiveness of low-cost nudges (e.g. sms reminders) against more expensive financial incentives to promote greater adherence to DOTS treatment of TB in South Africa.

This project forms part of Making primary health care work for the poor, a topic within the STIAS long-term theme project Health in transition.

Project leader(s):
  • Eddy van Doorslaer (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

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