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Economic evidence is increasingly being used for informing health policies. However, the underlining principles of health economic analyses are not always fully understood by non-health economists, and inappropriate types of analyses, as well as inconsistent methodologies, may be being used for informing health policy decisions. In addition, there is a lack of open access information and methodological guidance targeted to public health professionals, particularly those based in low- and middle-income country (LMIC) settings. The objective of this review is to provide a comprehensive and accessible introduction to economic evaluations for public health professionals with a focus on LMIC settings. We cover the main principles underlining the most common types of full economic evaluations used in healthcare decision making in the context of priority setting (namely cost-effectiveness/cost-utility analyses, cost-benefit analyses), and outline their key features, strengths and weaknesses. It is envisioned that this will help those conducting such analyses, as well as stakeholders that need to interpret their output, gain a greater understanding of these methods and help them select/distinguish between the different approaches. In particular, we highlight the need for greater awareness of the methods used to place a monetary value on the health benefits of interventions, and the potential for such estimates to be misinterpreted. Specifically, the economic benefits reported are typically an approximation, summarising the health benefits experienced by a population monetarily in terms of individual preferences or potential productivity gains, rather than actual realisable or fiscal monetary benefits to payers or society.