H. (Harwin) de Vries

Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM Doctoral Student
Field: Logistics & Information Systems
Affiliated since 2013

PhD Project

Optimizing the use of Scarce Resources to Control Infectious Diseases

Whereas the burden of infectious diseases is extremely high in developing countries, these countries face a severe lack of resources to control them. As a result, a key challenge for decision makers is to reduce major causes of burden by increasing the effectiveness of available resources. So far, literature has mainly focused on descriptive models for infectious diseases. Research on models to optimize the use of resources to control these diseases is lacking. The aim of our research is to develop and analyze models and optimization techniques to support logistical decisions on the use of scarce resources, so as to maximize their health impact. We will do so by exploring a number of case studies for which real life data are available. First, we design and analyze a mathematical model to optimize the locations of roadside healthcare facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa. These facilities provide healthcare services to truck drivers, who are at high risk of contracting and spreading HIV and other infectious diseases. Second, we design and analyze models to optimize the planning of mobile teams that visit villages to screen for outbreaks of the HAT disease, a parasitic disease that causes immense suffering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding counties. Other case studies may follow. As a potential third case study we consider the optimization of the maintenance system for 4x4 vehicles that are used to deliver health services and goods in developing countries.

infectious diseases; scarce resources; optimization; facility location; screening; planning
Time frame
2013 -


Visiting address

Office: Tinbergen Building H07-24
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam

Supervisory team

Harwin de Vries
Professor of Econometrics (Management Science)
Promotor, Daily supervisor