The Role of Mathematical Modelling in Public Health Planning and Decision Making

Publication Summary

This paper attempts to lay out a basic description of mathematical modelling and discusses its relevance to public health policy formulation. It also provides examples for the application of modelling to optimizing health policy and practice in the face of an emerging disease.

Key Points

Mathematical modelling has become a viable approach to evaluate the impact of public health intervention strategies and suggest the optimal course of action in the ongoing fight against persistent and emerging infectious diseases.

Mathematical modelling provides an invaluable tool for making assumptions explicit, highlighting key factors determining policy needs, and providing quantitative predictions for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of disease control policies.

There is much greater need than ever for effective communication between modellers, planners, and policy-makers to make modelling more amenable and applicable to the needs of public health planning and decision making.

Knowledge translation activities remain a key component of modelling endeavours for guiding public health in times of crisis and informing decision-makers for policy effectiveness and the potential outcomes of different scenarios.