I simply wish that in a matter which so closely concerns the wellbeing of the human race, no decision shall be made without all the knowledge which a little analysis and calculation can provide.Daniel Bernoulli, 1760

Optima is an allocative efficiency analysis tool for use in informing public health investment choices, as well as for academic research. Optima includes a web-based user interface, and it is under continuous development to provide users with new features.

The Optima approach involves: (i) assessing the burden of disease over time and for each disease state (through data synthesis and epidemiological modeling); (ii) specify the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions (for different technologies and delivery modes) which may reduce disease burden (and costs of service delivery); (iii) define strategic objectives and national priority targets – as well as the logistic, ethical and/or political constraints around achieving these objectives; (iv) use a formal mathematical optimization algorithm to assess the optimal allocation of resources to best achieve the objectives.

Optima consists of a mathematical model of disease transmission and progression integrated with an economic and financial analysis framework and a formal mathematical optimization routine. The Optima structure is highly flexible and can accommodate public health programs and sub-populations specific to each country.

A unique feature of Optima is the optimization function that is used to calculate the optimal allocation of resources to different program areas to address the specific objectives of either (a) reducing new infections, or disease-related deaths, or disability-adjusted life years, or a combination thereof; or (b) minimizing costs required to achieve specific targets.

With Optima one can also build scenarios linked to achieving specific targets. Different scenarios of coverage levels of core public health programs can be assumed, in which case Optima can assesses the impact of such investments. Scenarios can also be run for different impact targets to determine the cost of achieving specific reductions in incidence and deaths. Different scenarios are then compared and discussed to determine which scenario is most appropriate given the country context.



Optima is open-access, cloud-based software written in Python. Since it is used via a web interface, the only requirement for use is Google Chrome. To access Optima, users must first complete a training course, after which a user account will be provided.

The Optima software was conceptualized and developed by the Directors of the Optima Consortium for Decision Science in partnership with the World Bank. It is extended by the partners in the Consortium. Updates, revisions, and changes to the software are made by the Optima team, supported by financial and intellectual inputs from the World Bank staff.


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