Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Option B+ for HIV Prevention and Treatment of Mothers and Children in Malawi

Master of International Health Management, Economics and Policy Program, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 03/2013; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057778


The Ministry of Health in Malawi is implementing a pragmatic and innovative approach for the management of all HIV-infected pregnant women, termed Option B+, which consists of providing life-long antiretroviral treatment, regardless of their CD4 count or clinical stage. Our objective was to determine if Option B+ represents a cost-effective option.
A decision model simulates the disease progression of a cohort of HIV-infected pregnant women receiving prophylaxis and antiretroviral therapy, and estimates the number of paediatric infections averted and maternal life years gained over a ten-year time horizon. We assess the cost-effectiveness from the Ministry of Health perspective while taking into account the practical realities of implementing ART services in Malawi.
If implemented as recommended by the World Health Organization, options A, B and B+ are equivalent in preventing new infant infections, yielding cost effectiveness ratios between US$ 37 and US$ 69 per disability adjusted life year averted in children. However, when the three options are compared to the current practice, the provision of antiretroviral therapy to all mothers (Option B+) not only prevents infant infections, but also improves the ten-year survival in mothers more than four-fold. This translates into saving more than 250,000 maternal life years, as compared to mothers receiving only Option A or B, with savings of 153,000 and 172,000 life years respectively. Option B+ also yields favourable incremental cost effectiveness ratios (ICER) of US$ 455 per life year gained over the current practice.
In Malawi, Option B+ represents a favorable policy option from a cost-effectiveness perspective to prevent future infant infections, save mothers' lives and reduce orphanhood. Although Option B+ would require more financial resources initially, it would save societal resources in the long-term and represents a strategic option to simplify and integrate HIV services into maternal, newborn and child health programmes.

Download full-text


Available from: Carlos Avila,
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in developing countries, new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend maternal combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) during pregnancy, throughout breastfeeding for 1 year and then cessation of breastfeeding (COB). The efficacy of this approach during the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding has been demonstrated, but the efficacy of this approach beyond six months is not well documented. A prospective observational cohort study of 279 HIV-positive mothers was started on zidovudine/3TC and lopinavir/ritonavir tablets between 14 and 30 weeks gestation and continued indefinitely thereafter. Women were encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for six months, complementary feed for the next six months and then cease breastfeeding between 12 and 13 months. Infants were followed for transmission to 18 months and for survival to 24 months. Text message reminders and stipends for food and transport were utilized to encourage adherence and follow-up. Total MTCT was 9 of 219 live born infants (4.1%; confidence interval (CI) 2.2-7.6%). All breastfeeding transmissions that could be timed (5/5) occurred after six months of age. All mothers who transmitted after six months had a six-month plasma viral load >1,000 copies/ml (p<0.001). Poor adherence to cART as noted by missed dispensary visits was associated with transmission (p=0.04). Infant mortality was lower after six months of age than during the first six months of life (p=0.02). The cumulative rate of infant HIV infection or death at 18 months was 29/226 (12.8% 95 CI: 7.5-20.8%). Maternal cART may limit MTCT of HIV to the UNAIDS target of <5% for eradication of paediatric HIV within the context of a clinical study, but poor adherence to cART and follow-up can limit the benefit. Continued breastfeeding can prevent the rise in infant mortality after six months seen in previous studies, which encouraged early COB.
    Journal of the International AIDS Society 07/2015; 18(1):19352. DOI:10.7448/IAS.18.1.19352 · 5.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background The Hueter-Volkmann law describes growth principles around joints and joint deformation. It states that decreased stress leads to increased growth and that excessive stress leads to growth retardation. Aim of this study was to test the possible results of this principle by measuring the effect of dorsal humeral head subluxation on scapular growth in children with Obstetrical Brachial Plexus Lesions (OBPL). According to the Hueter-Volkmann law, subluxation should result in decrease of growth of the dorsal length of the scapula (by increased dorsal pressure) and increase of the ventral length (decreased pressure). Methods 58 children (mean age 20 months, range 1-88 month) with unilateral OBPL and good quality MRI of both shoulders were included. On MRI, humeral head subluxation, joint deformation, and ventral and dorsal scapular lengths were measured. Data were expressed as a ratio of the normal side. Results In affected scapulas both ventral and dorsal side were smaller compared to the normal side. Reduction of growth on the affected side was more marked on the dorsal side than on the ventral side (6.5 mm respectively 4.5 mm, p < 0.001). The balance of growth reduction as expressed by the ratio of ventral and dorsal length was strongly related to subluxation (R2 = 0.33, p < 0.001) and age (R2 = 0.19, p < 0.001). Conclusions The Hueter-Volkmann law is incompletely active in subluxated shoulders in OBPL. Dorsal subluxation indeed leads to decrease of growth of the dorsal length of the scapula. However, decreased stress did not lead to increased growth of the ventral length of the scapula.
    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 03/2013; 14(1):107. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-14-107 · 1.72 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose of review: Computer simulation models can identify key clinical, operational, and economic interventions that will be needed to achieve the elimination of new pediatric HIV infections. In this review, we summarize recent findings from model-based analyses of strategies for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT). Recent findings: In order to achieve elimination of MTCT (eMTCT), model-based studies suggest that scale-up of services will be needed in several domains: uptake of services and retention in care (the PMTCT 'cascade'), interventions to prevent HIV infections in women and reduce unintended pregnancies (the 'four-pronged approach'), efforts to support medication adherence through long periods of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and strategies to make breastfeeding safer and/or shorter. Models also project the economic resources that will be needed to achieve these goals in the most efficient ways to allocate limited resources for eMTCT. Results suggest that currently recommended PMTCT regimens (WHO Option A, Option B, and Option B+) will be cost-effective in most settings. Summary: Model-based results can guide future implementation science, by highlighting areas in which additional data are needed to make informed decisions and by outlining critical interventions that will be necessary in order to eliminate new pediatric HIV infections.
    Current opinion in HIV and AIDS 06/2013; 8(5). DOI:10.1097/COH.0b013e328362db0d · 4.68 Impact Factor
Show more