Research Agenda for Health Economic Evaluation (RAHEE) project

Within the framework of the work plan of the 2011 Health Programme, the European Commission (EC) has asked WHO/Europe to carry out a study to identify priorities for a research agenda on health economic evaluation. The RAHEE project aims to outline the existing health economic evidence on the 10 conditions responsible for the highest burden of disease in the European Union (EU), and to use the knowledge gaps identified to make recommendations for the EC.


In the Tallinn Charter: “Health Systems for Health and Wealth”, adopted at the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Health Systems in June 2008, Member States in the WHO European Region committed themselves to improving the health of the population by strengthening health systems and addressing major health challenges arising from epidemiological and demographic changes, widening socioeconomic disparities, limited resources, technological development and rising expectations. Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the Charter in October 2013 at a follow-up meeting on health systems for health and wealth in the context of Health 2020.
Some of the main challenges faced by public health systems in European Union (EU) countries are related to population ageing, epidemiological change and technological progress. All help to increases pressures on health budgets.

Governments must respond to both increasing health challenges and more restricted budgets, following the recent financial crisis. Improving health systems’ cost–effectiveness by investing in services and interventions that deliver the best health outcomes most efficiently is an important element in this response.

WHO actively promotes the use of economic evaluation in health-system planning, including both therapeutic and preventive areas. In collaboration with other United Nations agencies, it produced a workbook on the use of economic evaluation of specific services, to build capacity among health planners, managers and other decision-makers.

In the early stages of the financial crisis, WHO/Europe held a meeting in Oslo, in cooperation with the Norwegian health ministry, to consider health in the context of the crisis. The participants stressed the need to protect cost-effective public health and primary health care services from budget cuts, while selecting the most cost-effective treatments and technology.

At a 2013 follow-up meeting, representatives of WHO European Member States again met in Oslo to review the impact of the economic crisis on health and health systems in the Region and to derive lessons for the future from the policy responses to the crisis.