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179:oral Priority-setting for effective pandemic preparedness: a case study of priority setting for COVID-19 in the Western Pacific Region
  1. Beverley M Essue1,
  2. Claudia Marcella Valez2,
  3. Susan Goold3,
  4. Elyse Nouvet4,
  5. Lydia Kapiriri2,
  6. on behalf of the Global Priority Setting Research Collaborative (GPset)
  1. 1Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation; University of Toronto; Canada
  2. 2McMaster Unversity
  3. 3University of Michigan
  4. 4Western University


Background There have been divergent approaches used by countries to curb and control the spread, impact and burden of COVID-19. While priority setting – defined as decision-making about the allocation of resources between competing claims of different services, populations and elements of care – is recognized as critical for promoting accountability and transparency in health system planning, its role in supporting rational, equitable and fair pandemic preparedness planning is less well understood. Our multi-country project investigates the effectiveness of priority setting for pandemic preparedness planning. This study aims to describe how priority setting guided the COVID-19 responses implemented in the sub-set of countries in the Western Pacific Region.

Methods Guided by the adapted Kapiriri and Martin Framework, we purposively sampled a subset of countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region (WPRO) and undertook a critical document review of national-level pandemic preparedness plans. A pre-specified, validated tool guided data extraction on twenty quality parameters of PS. A critical synthesis was completed.

Results Nine plans were included (41% WPRO countries), including: Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Philippines, Fiji, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan. There was evidence of strong political will to quickly and effectively combat the pandemic. With 8/9 countries being islands, an emphasis on securing boarders was reflected in the plans. A limited number of quality indicators of effective priority setting were described. Most commonly, plans described resource needs (n=8), stakeholder engagement (n=8), and responsibilities of legitimate institutions (n=7). Consideration of health inequalities, fair financial burden, or public engagement/acceptance of priorities was not evident in any plans.

Discussion This project advances understanding of how priority setting has been used in the WPRO region to support COVID-19 responses. It provides a basis for examining the relationship between effective priority setting for pandemic preparedness and country-level outcomes in future work.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: .

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