Potential for health economics to influence policies on tobacco use during pregnancy in low-income and middle-income countries: a qualitative case study

Tuba Saygın Avşar, Louise Jackson, Hugh McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Tobacco control during pregnancy is a policy priority in high-income countries (HICs) because of the significant health and inequality consequences. However, little evidence exists on interventions to reduce tobacco use in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), especially for pregnant women. This study aimed to assess how health economics evidence, which is mainly produced in HICs, could be adopted for tobacco cessation policies for pregnant women in LMICs.

Methods: A qualitative case study was conducted in an international public health organisation. The organisation was chosen due to its capacity to influence health policies around the world. Tobacco control experts working in the organisation were identified through purposeful sampling and snowballing. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 18 informants with relevant experience of countries from all of the regions covered by the organisation. Data were analysed using the framework method.

Results: In practice, tobacco cessation during pregnancy was not viewed as a priority in LMICs despite international recognition of the issue. In LMICs, factors including the recorded country-specific prevalence of tobacco use during pregnancy, availability of healthcare resources and the characteristics of potential interventions all affected the use of health economics evidence for policy making.

Conclusion: The scale of tobacco use among pregnant women might be greater than reported in LMICs. Health economics evidence produced in HICs has the potential to inform health policies in LMICs around tobacco cessation interventions if the country-specific circumstances are addressed. Economic evaluations of cessation interventions integrated into antenatal care with a household perspective would be especially relevant in LMICs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere045624
JournalBMJ open
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Qualitative research
  • 1506
  • 1725
  • public health
  • health policy
  • health economics
  • maternal medicine

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