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Economic evidence, such as incremental cost-effectiveness ratios, can be used to prioritize resource allocation decisions. To improve comparability across studies in various disease areas the practice guidelines in economic evaluations recommend using generic measures of health outcomes, such as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) or disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
The DALY, a measure of disease burden that captures both reductions in life expectancy and quality of life due to disability, has been increasingly used in economic evaluations, particularly studies for the low-middle income countries (LMICs). However, many studies still measure and report the study findings in the disease-specific units, such as HIV or TB cases averted, limiting the comparability of study findings across disease areas. (e.g., which intervention is more cost-effective: $100 per HIV case averted vs. $100 per TB case averted?)
A decision-maker, particularly in LMICs where data scarcity is a common problem, would like to use all of the existing information in their resource prioritization. To help this process, we developed a tool that can convert health outcomes expressed in non-DALY metrics (e.g., cases or deaths averted) into DALYs. Converted DALY measures can then be used to compare cost-effectiveness ratios of interventions across different disease areas. In the accompanying documentation, we have shown how the users can employ the DALY calculator and provided the conversion process as a case study.