Dr. Rob Baltussen

Head of research

Dr. Rob Baltussen is an economist specialized in international health economics, with a PhD in costing and cost-effectiveness analysis. He has extensive field work experience in around 25 countries in Africa and Asia, and worked as a senior health economist at the World Health Organization in Geneva from 2000-2003. At WHO, he was responsible for the development of WHO guidelines on cost-effectiveness analysis.

At present, he is Head of Research at NICHE – the Nijmegen International Center for Health Systems Research and Education, located at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands. NICHE focuses on international health systems research, more specifically on improving access to health care for poor people, cost and cost-effectiveness analysis of SRH and HIV/AIDS, multi-criteria priority setting, and primary health care. Rob Baltussen is editor-in-chief of the journal Cost-Effectiveness and Resource Allocation and has published more than 85 international papers in Medline-indexed journals.

Educational qualifications
1994-1998 PhD, Health Economics, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
1987-1993 MSc, Applied Economics, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
1991-1992 MSc, Development Economics, Hull University, UK

Current and past posts

Associate Professor, Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center. Head of research NICHE (Nijmegen International Center for Health Systems Research and Education). NICHE is established in 2007, now hosting 13 researchers, with focus on health system research in low-income countries, especially health insurance and priority setting in HIV/AIDS.

2003- 2006
Post-Doc researcher, Institute for Medical Technology Assessment (iMTA), Erasmus University Rotterdam. Research on health economics and international health, especially costing and cost-effectiveness analysis in nutrition, HIV/AIDS and TB.

2000- 2003 Senior health economist, World Health Organisation. Creation of global database on cost-effectiveness analysis. Responsible for development of WHO theoretical framework on cost-effectiveness analysis.

1998-2000 Research Associate, Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health at Heidelberg University, Germany. Based in Burkina Faso, West-Africa. Research on community-based health insurance, quality of care and health state valuations.

1994-1998 PhD-researcher Maastricht University,PhD entitled `Real-world designs in economic evaluation'.

Other activities and awards
Rank 13th in 2007 and 10th in 2008 in Top 40 of Economists in the Netherlands
Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cost-Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
Board member Netherlands Society for Tropical Diseases and International health (NVTG)
Board member Dutch Platform Global Health Policy and Health Systems Research (GHPHSR)
Board member Dutch Platform Health Insurance for the Poor (HIP)
Board member International Society for Priority Setting in Health (ISPSH)
Scientific Chair, Conference International Society for Priority Setting in Health, Vancouver, 2010
Coordinator course ‘International Public Health’ at RUNMC (annually 35 students)


1. Ginsberg GM, Laurer JA, Zelle S, Baeten S, Baltussen R. Cost effectiveness of strategies to combat breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia: mathematical modeling study. BMJ. 2012 Mar 2;344:e614.doi:10.1136/bmj.e614

2. Baltussen R, Smith A. Cost effectiveness of strategies to combat vision and hearing loss in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia: mathematical modelling study. BMJ. 2012 Mar 2;344:e615. Doi:10.1136/bmj.e615

3. Chisholm D, Baltussen R, Evans DB, Ginsberg G, Lauer JA, Lim S, Ortegon M, Salomon J, Stanciole A, Edejer TT. What are the priorities for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and injuries in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia? BMJ. 2012 Mar 2:3544:e586.doi:10.1136/bmj.e586

4. Mirelman A, Mentzakis E, Kinter E, Paolucci F, Fordham R, Ozawa S, Ferraz M, Baltussen R, Niessen L. Decision making criteria among national policy makers in six countries: a discrete choice experiment eliciting relative preferences for equity and efficiency. Value in Health 2012

5. Youngkong S, Teerawattananon Y, Tantivess S, Baltussen R. Multi-criteria decision analysis for setting priorities on HIV/AIDS interventions in Thailand. Health Res Policy Syst. 2012 Feb 17:10(1):6

6. Hontelez JA, de Vlas SJ, Tansfer F, Bakker R, Bärnighausen T, Newell ML, Baltussen R, Lurie MN. The impact of the new WHO antiretroviral treatment guidelines on HIV epidemic dynamics and cost in South Africa. PLoS One. 2011;6 (7)

7. Hontelez JA, Lurie MN, Newell ML, Bakker R, Tanser F. Bärnighausen T, Baltussen R, de Vlas SJ. Ageing with HIV in South Africa. AIDS 2011 aug 24;25 (13):1665-7

8. Hontelez JA, Nagelkerke N, Bärnighausen T, Bakker R, Tanser F, Newell ML, Lurie MN, Baltussen R, de Vlas SJ. The potential impact of RV144-like vaccines in rural South Africa: a study using the STDSIM microsimulation model. Vaccine 2011 Aug 18;29(36) 6100-6

9. Verdier JE, de Vlas SJ, Baltussen R, Richardus JH. A systematic review of economic evaluation studies of tuberculosis control in high-income countries. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2011 Dec; 15(12): 1587-98

10. Aryeetey GC, Jehu-Appiah C, Spaan E, Agyepong I, Baltussen R. Cost, equity, efficiency and feasibility of indentifiying the poor in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme: empirical analysis of various strategies. Trop Med Int Health. 2011 sep 23. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02886

11. Baeten SA, Baltussen RM, Uyl-de Groot CA, Bridges JF, Niessen LW. Reducing disparities in breast cancer survival – the effect of large-scale screening of the uninsured. Breast J. 2011 sept-oct: 17(5):548-9

12. Jehu-Appiah C, Aryeetey G, Spaan E, de Hoop T, Agyepong I, Baltussen R. Equity aspects of the National Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana: Who is enrolling, who is not and why? Soc Sci Med. 2011 Jan;72(2):157-65

13. Siregar AY, Komarudin D, Wisaksana R, van Crevel R, Baltussen R. Costs and outcomes of VCT delivery models in the context of scaling up services in Indonesia. Trop Med Int Health. 2011 Feb;16(2):193-9.

14. Baltussen R, Norheim OF, Johri M. Fairness in service choice: an important yet underdeveloped path to universal coverage. Trop Med Int Health. 2011;16(7); 838-839

15. Chitama D, Baltussen R, Ketting R, Kamazima S, Nswilla A, Mujinja PG. From papers to practices; district level priority setting processes and criteria for family planning, maternal, newborn and child health interventions in Tanzania. BMC Womens Health. 2011 Oc 21;11:46

16. Baltussen R, Youngkong S, Paolucci F, Niessen L. Multi-criteria decision analysis to prioritize health interventions: Capitalizing on first experiences. Health Policy. 2010 Aug;96(3):262-4.

17. Baeten SA, Baltussen RM, Uyl-de Groot CA, Bridges J, Niessen LW. Incorporating Equity-Efficiency Interactions in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis-Three Approaches Applied to Breast Cancer Control. Value Health. 2010 Aug;13(5):573-9.

18. Jehu-Appiah C, Aryeetey G, Spaan E, Agyepong I, Baltussen R. Efficiency, equity and feasibility of strategies to identify the poor: an application to premium exemptions under national health insurance in Ghana. Health Policy. 2010;95(2-3):166-73.

19. Afriandi I, Siregar AY, Meheus F, Hidayat T, van der Ven A, van Crevel R, Baltussen R. Costs of hospital-based methadone maintenance treatment in Bandung, Indonesia. Health Policy. 2010;95(1):69-73.

20. Youngkong S, Baltussen R, Tantivess S, Koolman X, Teerawattananon Y. Criteria for priority setting of HIV/AIDS interventions in Thailand: A discrete choice experiment. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010 Jul 7;10:197.

21. Aryeetey G; Jehu-Appiah C; Spaan E; D’exelle B; Agyepong I; Baltussen R. The identification of poor households for premium exemptions in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme: an empirical analysis of three strategies. Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Dec;15(12):1544-52.

22. Baltussen R, Abraham V, Priya M, Achamma B, Anand J, Abraham J, Gift N. Costs and health effects of community-based screening and delivery of hearing aids in Tamil Nadu, India: an observational study. BMC Public Health 2009, 9:135.

23. Baltussen R, Naus J, Limburg H. Cost-effectiveness of screening and correcting refractive errors in school children in Africa, Asia, America and Europe. Health Policy. 2009 Feb;89(2):201-15.

24. Baltussen R, Acharya A, Antioch K, Chisholm D, Grieve R, Kirigia J, Torres-Edejer TT, Walker D, Evans D. Cost-Effectiveness and Resource Allocation (CERA) - directions for the future. Cost Eff Resour Alloc. 2009 Jul 23;7:14.

25. Baltussen R, Smith A Cost-effectiveness of hearing impairment control in Africa and Asia. International Journal of Audiology 2009 Mar;48(3):144-58

26. Baltussen R, Li J, Wu X, Gu X, Bai X, Sun X, McPherson B. Costs of screening of children for hearing disorders and delivery of hearing aids in China. BMC Health Services Research. 2009 Apr 16;9:64

27. Posse M, Baltussen R. Barriers to Access to ART in Mozambique as Perceived by Patients and Health Workers in Urban and Rural Settings. Journal of AIDS Patient Care and STDs 2009 Oct;23(10):867-75.

28. Youngkong S, Kapiriri L, Baltussen R. Setting priorities for health interventions in developing countries: a review of empirical studies. Trop Med Int Health. 2009 Aug;14(8):930-9.

29. Jehu-Appiah C, Baltussen R. Balancing equity and efficiency in health priorities in Ghana: the use of multi-criteria decision analysis. Value in Health 2009;14(8):930-9.

30. Baltussen R, Ten Asbroek AH, Koolman X, Shrestha N, Bhattarai P, Niessen LW. Priority setting using multiple criteria: should a lung health programme be implemented in Nepal? Health Policy Plan. 2007 May;22(3):178-85.

31. Lai T, Habicht J, Reinap M, Chisholm D, Baltussen R. Costs, health effects and cost-effectiveness of alcohol and tobacco control strategies in Estonia. Health Policy. 2007. Nov;84(1):75-88.

32. Jansen E, Baltussen RM, van Doorslaer E, Ngirwamungu E, Nguyen MP, Kilima PM. An eye for inequality: how trachoma relates to poverty in Tanzania and Vietnam. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2007 Sep-Oct;14(5):278-87.

33. Baltussen R, Bruce E, Rhodes G, Narh-Bana SA, Agyepong I. Management of mutual health organizations in Ghana. Trop Med Int Health. 2006;11(5):654-9.

34. Baltussen R, Niessen L. Priority setting of health interventions: the need for multi-criteria decision analysis. Cost Eff Resour Alloc. 2006 Aug 21;4:14.

35. van Etten G, Baltussen R, Bijlmakers L, Niessen L. Editorial: advancing the Mexico agenda for health systems research—from clinical efficacy to population health. Trop Med Int Health. 2006 Aug;11(8):1145-6.

36. Baltussen R, Stolk E, Chisholm D, Aikins M. Towards a multi-criteria approach for priority setting: an application to Ghana. Health Econ. 2006 Jul;15(7):689-96.

37. Baltussen R, Ye Y. Quality of care of modern health services as perceived by users and non-users in Burkina Faso. Int J Qual Health Care. 2006;18(1):30-4.

38. Baltussen R. Priority setting of public spending in developing countries: do not try to do everything for everybody. Health Policy. 2006 Oct;78(2-3):149-56.

39. Brouwer WB, van Exel NJ, Baltussen RM, Rutten FF. A dollar is a dollar is a dollar--or is it? Value Health. 2006 Sep-Oct;9(5):341-7.

40. Hogan DR, Baltussen R, Hayashi C, Lauer JA, Salomon JA. Cost effectiveness analysis of strategies to combat HIV/AIDS in developing countries. BMJ. 2005 331: 1431-7

41. Baltussen R, Floyd K, Dye C. Cost effectiveness analysis of strategies for tuberculosis control in developing countries. BMJ. 2005; 331: 1364-9.

42. Baltussen R, Frick K, Sylla M. Mariotti S. Global and regional cost-effectiveness of trachoma control in seven world regions. Ophthalmic Epidemiology 2005; 12: 91-101.

43. Hutton G, Baltussen R. The valuation of costs in resource-poor settings. Health Policy Plan. 2005 20:252-9.

44. Baltussen R, Niessen L, and Brouwer W. Cost-effectiveness analyses for priority setting in health: penny wise but pound-foolish. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2005;21(4):532-4.

45. Baltussen R, Knai C, Sharan M. Iron fortification and iron supplementation are cost-effective interventions to reduce iron deficiency in four subregions of the world. J Nutr. 2004 Oct;134(10):2678-84.

46. Johns B, Baltussen R. Accounting for the cost of scaling-up health interventions. Health Econ. 2004 Feb 24;13(11):1117-1124

47. Baltussen R, Sylla M, Mariotti S. Costs and health effects of cataract control: a global and regional analysis. Bull World Health Organ. 2004 May;82(5):338-45.

48. Baltussen, Hutubessy R, Evans D, Murray C. Reply to Coyle's comments on 'uncertainty in cost-effectiveness analysis: probabilistic uncertainty analysis and stochastic league tables'. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. Published in 2004 Fall;19(4):682-4.

49. Hutubessy RCW, Baltussen R, T Tan Torres-Edejer, DB Evans. Generalized Cost-effectiveness Analysis for priority setting in health. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy 2003. 2002;1(2):89-95

50. Baltussen R., Sanon M. Sommerfeld J, Wuerthwein R. Obtaining disability weights in rural Burkina Faso using a culturally adapted Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Health Economics 2002 vol 11, no 2, pp. 55-63

51. Baltussen R, Yé Y, Haddad S, Sauerborn RS. Perceived quality of care of primary health care services in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Health Policy and Planning 2002, Vol 17, no. 1, pp. 42-8.

52. Postma M, Baltussen R, Heijnen ML, LTW de Jong-van den Berg, Jager JC. Pharmaco-economics of influenza vaccination in the elderly; reviewing the available evidence. Drugs & Aging 17 2000;, 217-227

53. Ortqvist A, Jonsson B, Baltussen R, Ament A. The cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccination in Sweden. Lakartidningen 97 2000;, 5120-5.

54. DeGraeve D, Goossen H, Ament A, Baltussen R. De kosten-effectiviteit van pneumokokken vaccinatie in Belgie. Acta Clin Belg 55 2000;, 57-65.

55. Ament A, Baltussen R, Duru G, Rigaud-Bully C, de Graeve D, Orqtvist A, Jönsson B, Verhaegen J, Gaillat J, Christie P, Salazar Cifre A, Vivas D, Loiseau C, Fedson DS. The cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccination for older people: a study in five western European countries. Clinical Infectious Diseases 31 2000;, 444-450

56. Ament A, Evers S, Baltussen R. The usefulness of ratios for allocation decisions: the case of stroke. Cerebrovasc Dis 10 2000;, 283-8

57. Murray CJL., Evans DB, Acharya A, Baltussen R. Development of WHO Guidelines on Generalised Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. Health Economics 3 2000;, 235-251.

58. Baltussen R. Adjuvanted influenza vaccine. A viewpoint. BioDrugs 14 2000;, 70

59. Baltussen R, Schmidt CM, Sauerborn R. Economic evaluation methods for community-based interventions. Health and System Science 3 1999;, 1-12.

60. Baltussen R, Leidl R, Ament A. Real world designs in economic evaluation: Bridging the gap between clinical research and policy-making Pharmacoeconomics 15 1999;, 449-458.

61. Sauerborn R, Baltussen R. The Willingness to Pay for Medical Care. Book review in Social Science & Medicine 49 1999;, 705-708.

62. Postma M, Bos J, Gennep M van, Jager J, Baltussen R, Sprenger M. Economic evaluation of influenza vaccination: assessment for The Netherlands. Pharmacoeconomics 16 Suppl.1 1999;, 33-40.

63. Baltussen R, Wielink G, Stoevelaar H, Van der Wilt G, Severens J, Ament A. The economic impact of introducing TMT in the treatment of BPH: a scenario analysis. World Journal of Urology 16 1998; 142-147

64. Baltussen R, Reinders A, Sprenger M, Postma M, Jager J, Ament A, Leidl R. Estimating influenza-related hospitalisation in the Netherlands. Epidemiology and Infection 120 1998;

65. Ament A, Baltussen R. Interpreting the results of economic evaluation: explicating the value of health. Health Economics 6 1997; 625-635

66. Baltussen R, Ament A, Leidl R. Cost-effectiveness of vaccination against pneumococcal pneumonia in the Netherlands. Eur J of P Hlth 7 1997; 153-161.

67. Baltussen R, Ament A, Leidl R. Enhancing economic evaluations based on RCTs. The American Journal of Managed Care 2 1996; 1297

68. Baltussen R, Leidl R, Ament A. The impact of age on cost-effectiveness ratios and its control in decision-making. Health Economics 5 1996; 227-239

69. Baltussen R, Ament A, Leidl R. Making cost assessments based on RCTs more useful to decision-makers. Health Policy 37 1996; 163-18

- National refereed) journals
1. Baltussen R, Ament A, Leidl R, Furth R van. Kosten-effectiviteit van vaccinatie tegen pneumokokken pneumonie. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 1997; 45: 2188-2192

- Books, or contributions to books
1. Cook J, Frick KD, Baltussen R, Resnikoff S, Smith A, Mecaskey J, Kilima P. Loss of Vision and Hearing. In: Jamison DT, Breman JG, Measham AR, Alleyne G, Claeson M, Evans DB, Jha P, Mills A, Musgrove P, editors. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2nd edition. Washington DC): World Bank; 2006. Chapter 50.

2. Baltussen R, Tan Torres T, Adam T et al. Methods for cost-effectiveness analysis. In: Making choices in health: WHO guide to cost-effectiveness analysis. Edited by: Tan Torres T, Baltussen R, Adam T et al. Book 317 pages, 2003.

3. Sommerfeld J, Baltussen R, Metz L, Sanon M, Sauerborn R. Determinants of variance in health state valuations. Chapter in: Murray C, Salomon J Editors) Summary Measures on Population Health 2002.

4. Baltussen R. Real World Designs in Economic Evaluation: Bridging the gap between clinical research and policy making. PhD thesis, Maastricht University, Maastricht 1998. 

E-mail: Rob.Baltussen@radboudumc.nl