[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Emergence of high-grade sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) resistance in parts of Africa has led to growing concerns about the efficacy of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy (IPTp) with SP. The incremental cost-effectiveness of intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) with artemether-lumefantrine (AL) as an alternative strategy to IPTp-SP was estimated followed by a simulation of the effects on cost-effectiveness of decreasing efficacy of IPTp-SP due to SP resistance. The analysis was based on results from a multi-centre, non-inferiority trial conducted in West Africa. A decision tree model was analysed from a health provider perspective. Model parameters for all trial countries with appropriate ranges and distributions were used in a probabilistic sensitivity analysis. Simulations were performed in hypothetical cohorts of 1000 pregnant women who received either ISTp-AL or IPTp-SP. In addition a cost-consequences analysis was conducted. Trial estimates were used to calculate disability-adjusted-life-years (DALYs) for low birth weight and severe/moderate anaemia (both shown to be non-inferior for ISTp-AL) and clinical malaria (inferior for ISTp-AL). Cost estimates were obtained from observational studies, health facility costings and public procurement databases. Results were calculated as incremental cost per DALY averted. Finally, the cost-effectiveness changes with decreasing SP efficacy were explored by simulation. Relative to IPTp-SP, delivering ISTp-AL to 1000 pregnant women cost US$ 4966.25 more (95 % CI US$ 3703.53; 6376.83) and led to a small excess of 28.36 DALYs (95 % CI -75.78; 134.18), with LBW contributing 81.3 % of this difference. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was -175.12 (95 % CI -1166.29; 1267.71) US$/DALY averted. Simulations show that cost-effectiveness of ISTp-AL increases as the efficacy of IPTp-SP decreases, though the specific threshold at which ISTp-AL becomes cost-effective depends on assumptions about the contribution of bed nets to malaria control, bed net coverage and the willingness-to-pay threshold used. At SP efficacy levels currently observed in the trial settings it would not be cost-effective to switch from IPTp-SP to ISTp-AL, mainly due to the substantially higher costs of ISTp-AL and limited difference in outcomes. The modelling results indicate thresholds below which IPT-SP efficacy must fall for ISTp-AL to become a cost-effective option for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy.
Full-text available · Article · Dec 2016 · Malaria Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Emigration has contributed to a shortage of doctors in many sub-Saharan African countries. Specialty training is highly valued by doctors and a potential tool for retention. Yet not all types of training may be valued equally. In the first study to examine preferences for postgraduate training in depth, we carried out a discrete choice experiment as part of a cross-sectional survey of all Malawian doctors within seven years of graduation and not yet in specialty training. Over August 2012 to March 2013, 148 doctors took part out of 153 eligible in Malawi. Despite evidence that specialty training is highly sought after, Malawian junior doctors would not accept all types of training. Doctors preferred timely training outside of Malawi in core specialties (internal medicine, general surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics & gynaecology). Specialty preferences are particularly strong, with most junior doctors requiring nearly double their monthly salary to accept training all in Malawi and over six-fold to accept training in ophthalmology (representing a bundle of unpopular but priority specialties). In contrast, the location of work before training did not significantly influence most doctors' choices when guaranteed specialty training. Using a latent class model, we identified four subgroups of junior doctors with distinct preferences. Policy simulations showed that these preferences could be leveraged by policymakers to improve retention in exchange for guaranteed specialty training, however incentivising the uptake of training in priority specialties will only be effective in those with more flexible preferences. These results indicate that indiscriminate expansion of postgraduate training to slow emigration of doctors from sub-Saharan African countries may not be effective unless doctors' preferences are taken into account.
Full-text available · Article · Sep 2016 · Social Science [?] Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: There has been growing interest in the potential for private health insurance (PHI) and private organisations to contribute to universal health coverage (UHC). Yet evidence from low and middle income countries remains very thin. This paper examines the evolution of health maintenance organisations (HMOs) in Nigeria, the nature of the PHI plans and social health insurance (SHI) programmes and their performance, and the implications of their business practices for providing PHI and UHC-related SHI programmes. An embedded case study design was used with multiple subunits of analysis (individual HMOs and the HMO industry) and mixed (qualitative and quantitative) methods, and the study was guided by the structure-conduct-performance paradigm that has its roots in the neo-classical theory of the firm. Quantitative data collection and 35 in-depth interviews were carried out between October 2012 to July 2013. Although HMOs first emerged in Nigeria to supply PHI, their expansion was driven by their role as purchasers in the government’s national health insurance scheme that finances SHI programmes, and facilitated by a weak accreditation system. HMOs’ characteristics distinguish the market they operate in as monopolistically competitive, and HMOs as multiproduct firms operating multiple risk pools through parallel administrative systems. The considerable product differentiation and consequent risk selection by private insurers promote inefficiencies. Where HMOs and similar private organisations play roles in health financing systems, effective regulatory institutions and mandates must be established to guide their behaviours towards attainment of public health goals and to identify and control undesirable business practices. Lessons are drawn for policy makers and programme implementers especially in those low and middle-income countries considering the use of private organisations in their health financing systems.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The private sector has a large and growing role in health systems in low-income and middle-income countries. The goal of universal health coverage provides a renewed focus on taking a system perspective in designing policies to manage the private sector. This perspective requires choosing policies that will contribute to the performance of the system as a whole, rather than of any sector individually. Here we draw and extrapolate main messages from the papers in this Series and additional sources to inform policy and research agendas in the context of global and country level efforts to secure universal health coverage in low-income and middle-income countries. Recognising that private providers are highly heterogeneous in terms of their size, objectives, and quality, we explore the types of policy that might respond appropriately to the challenges and opportunities created by four stylised private provider types: the low-quality, underqualified sector that serves poor people in many countries; not-for-profit providers that operate on a range of scales; formally registered small-to-medium private practices; and the corporate commercial hospital sector, which is growing rapidly and about which little is known.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
Information on costs associated with malaria in pregnancy (MiP) in low transmission areas where Plasmodium vivax predominates is so far missing. This study estimates health system and patient costs of MiP in the Brazilian Amazon.
Between January 2011 and March 2012 patient costs for the treatment of MiP were collected through an exit survey at a tertiary referral hospital and at a primary health care centre in the Manaus metropolitan area, Amazonas state. Pregnant and post-partum women diagnosed with malaria were interviewed after an outpatient consultation or at discharge after admission. Seventy-three interviews were included in the analysis. Ninety-six percent of episodes were due to P. vivax and 4% to Plasmodium falciparum. In 2010, the total median costs from the patient perspective were estimated at US $45.91 and US $216.29 for an outpatient consultation and an admission, respectively. When multiple P. vivax infections during the same pregnancy were considered, patient costs increased up to US $335.85, representing the costs of an admission plus an outpatient consultation. Provider direct and overhead cost data were obtained from several sources. The provider cost associated with an outpatient case, which includes several consultations at the tertiary hospital was US $103.51 for a P. vivax malaria episode and US $83.59 for a P. falciparum malaria episode. The cost of an inpatient day and average admission of 3 days was US $118.51 and US $355.53, respectively. Total provider costs for the diagnosis and treatment of all malaria cases reported in pregnant women in Manaus in 2010 (N = 364) were US $17,038.50, of which 92.4% (US$ 15,741.14) due to P. vivax infection.
Despite being an area of low risk malaria transmission, MiP is responsible for a significant economic burden in Manaus. Especially when multiple infections are considered, costs associated with P. vivax are higher than costs associated with P. falciparum. The information generated may help health policy decisions for the current control and future elimination of malaria in the area.
Full-text available · Article · Mar 2016 · PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Objective:
To assess the role of the private sector in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We used Demographic and Health Surveys for 57 countries (2000-2013) to evaluate its share in providing three reproductive and maternal/newborn health services (family planning, antenatal and delivery care), in total and by socioeconomic position.
We used data from 865,547 women aged 15-49, representing a total of 3 billion people. We defined "met and unmet need for services" and "use of appropriate service types" clearly and developed explicit classifications of source and sector of provision.
Across the four regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East/Europe, Asia, and Latin America), unmet need ranged from 28-61% for family planning, 8-22% for ANC, and 21-51% for delivery care. The private-sector share among users of family planning services was 37-39% across regions (overall mean: 37%; median across countries: 41%). The private-sector market share among users of ANC was 13-61% across regions (overall mean: 44%; median across countries: 15%). The private-sector share among appropriate deliveries was 9-56% across regions (overall mean: 40%; median across countries: 14%). For all three healthcare services, women in the richest wealth quintile used private services more than the poorest. Wealth gaps in met need for services were smallest for family planning and largest for delivery care.
The private sector serves substantial numbers of women in LMICs, particularly the richest. To achieve universal health coverage, including adequate quality care, it is imperative to understand this sector, starting with improved data collection on healthcare provision. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article · Feb 2016 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Low-income countries are plagued by a high burden of preventable and curable disease as well as unmet need for healthcare, but detailed microeconomic evidence on the relationship between supply-side factors and service use is limited. Causality has rarely been assessed due to the challenges posed by the endogeneity of health service supply.
In this study, using data from Mozambique, we investigate the effect of healthcare service availability, measured as the type of health facilities and their level of staffing and equipment, on the individual decision to seek care. We apply an instrumental variable approach to test for causality in the effect of staff and equipment availability on the decision to seek care and we explore heterogeneous effects based on the distance of households to the closest health facility.
We find that living in the proximity of a health facility increases the probability of seeking care. A greater availability of referral health services in the locality has no significant effect on decision to seek care, while greater availability of staff and equipment increases the probability of seeking care when ill. Demand side barriers to health care use exist, but have a smaller impact when health care services are available within one hour walking distance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background: Every year, 2·9 million newborn babies die worldwide. A meta-analysis of four cluster-randomised controlled trials estimated that home visits by trained community members in programme settings in Ghana and south Asia reduced neonatal mortality by 12% (95% CI 5–18). We aimed to estimate the costs and cost-effectiveness of newborn home visits in a programme setting.
Methods: We prospectively collected detailed cost data alongside the Newhints trial, which tested the effect of a home-visits intervention in seven districts in rural Ghana and showed a reduction of 8% (95% CI −12 to 25%) in neonatal mortality. The intervention consisted of a package of home visits to pregnant women and their babies in the first week of life by community-based surveillance volunteers. We calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) with Monte Carlo simulation and one-way sensitivity analyses and characterised uncertainty with cost-effectiveness planes and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves. We then modelled the potential cost-effectiveness for baseline neonatal mortality rates of 20–60 deaths per 1000 livebirths with use of a meta-analysis of effectiveness estimates.
Findings: In the 49 zones randomly allocated to receive the Newhints intervention, a mean of 407 (SD 18) community-based surveillance volunteers undertook home visits for 7848 pregnant women who gave birth to 7786 live babies in 2009. Annual economic cost of implementation was US$203 998, or $0·53 per person. In the base-case analysis, the Newhints intervention cost a mean of $10 343 (95% CI 2963 to −7674) per newborn life saved, or $352 (95% CI 104 to −268) per discounted life-year saved, and had a 72% chance of being highly cost effective with respect to Ghana's 2009 gross domestic product per person. Key determinants of cost-effectiveness were the discount rate, protective effectiveness, baseline neonatal mortality rate, and implementation costs. In the scenarios modelled with the meta-analysis results, the ICER increased from $127 per life-year saved at a neonatal mortality rate of 60 deaths per 1000 livebirths, to $379 per life-year saved at a rate of 20 deaths per 1000 livebirths. The strategy had at least a 99% probability of being highly cost effective for lower-middle-income countries in all neonatal mortality rate scenarios modelled, and at least a 95% probability of being highly cost effective for low-income countries at neonatal mortality rates of 30 or more deaths per 1000 livebirths.
Interpretation: Our findings show that the seemingly modest mortality reductions achieved by a newborn home-visit strategy might in fact be cost effective. In Ghana, such strategies are also likely to be affordable. Our findings support recommendations from WHO and UNICEF that low-income and middle-income countries implement newborn home visits.
Funding: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Department for International Development, WHO.
Full-text available · Article · Nov 2015 · The Lancet Global Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In the last decade, almost every low- or middle-income country in the world has expressed support for universal health coverage (UHC). While at the beginning of the UHC movement, country strategies focused on increasing access to the formal sector as the first step of UHC, there is now consensus that countries should cover the entire population, with particular attention to covering the poor. However, it is often assumed that mandatory schemes will automatically cover their target populations, and consequently little is known about why firms comply or do not comply with enrolment requirements. Using the experience of Lao PDR, where the enrolment rate in the mandatory social security scheme is low and the capacity for regulation is weak, we conducted this study to better understand the determinants of enrolment of private sector firms in mandatory social security.
We used a cross-sectional case-comparison design, surveying 130 firms. We applied a structured questionnaire to explore determinants of enrolment, specifically looking at firm characteristics (e.g., industry category, ownership); sociodemographic characteristics of company heads; firms' risk perceptions; details of employment contracts; employee benefits; and exposure to social security. Closed ended questions were analysed quantitatively, while content analysis was applied to open-ended questions. Logistic regression was used to examine the determinants of enrolment.
Smaller privately owned firms in the services industry were the least likely to enrol in social security, while firms in the trade industry were more likely to enrol than firms in manufacturing, construction, or services. The main reason for not enrolling was that firms offered a better package of benefits to their employees, although further investigation of company benefits showed that this was not the case in practice. Additional reasons for non-compliance were lack of knowledge and poor quality of care at government hospitals.
The study contributes to the dialogue on how best to increase coverage in the formal sector, which is an important element of achieving UHC. It also provides much needed information about the motivation of private sector firms to comply with mandatory schemes.
Full-text available · Article · Oct 2015 · BMC Health Services Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
To assess the availability, price and market share of quality-assured artemisinin-based combination therapy (QAACT) in remote areas (RAs) compared with non-remote areas (nRAs) in Kenya and Ghana at end-line of the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) intervention.
Areas were classified by remoteness using a composite index computed from estimated travel times to three levels of service centres. The index was used to five categories of remoteness, which were then grouped into two categories of remote and non-remote areas. The number of public or private outlets with the potential to sell or distribute anti-malarial medicines, screened in nRAs and RAs, respectively, was 501 and 194 in Ghana and 9980 and 2353 in Kenya. The analysis compares RAs with nRAs in terms of availability, price and market share of QAACT in each country.
QAACT were similarly available in RAs as nRAs in Ghana and Kenya. In both countries, there was no statistical difference in availability of QAACT with AMFm logo between RAs and nRAs in public health facilities (PHFs), while private-for-profit (PFP) outlets had lower availability in RA than in nRAs (Ghana: 66.0 vs 82.2 %, p < 0.0001; Kenya: 44.9 vs 63.5 %, p = <0.0001. The median price of QAACT with AMFm logo for PFP outlets in RAs (USD1.25 in Ghana and USD0.69 in Kenya) was above the recommended retail price in Ghana (US$0.95) and Kenya (US$0.46), and much higher than in nRAs for both countries. QAACT with AMFm logo represented the majority of QAACT in RAs and nRAs in Kenya and Ghana. In the PFP sector in Ghana, the market share for QAACT with AMFm logo was significantly higher in RAs than in nRAs (75.6 vs 51.4 %, p < 0.0001). In contrast, in similar outlets in Kenya, the market share of QAACT with AMFm logo was significantly lower in RAs than in nRAs (39.4 vs 65.1 %, p < 0.0001).
The findings indicate the AMFm programme contributed to making QAACT more available in RAs in these two countries. Therefore, the AMFm approach can inform other health interventions aiming at reaching hard-to-reach populations, particularly in the context of universal access to health interventions. However, further examination of the factors accounting for the deep penetration of the AMFm programme into RAs is needed to inform actions to improve the healthcare delivery system, particularly in RAs.
Full-text available · Article · Oct 2015 · Malaria Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In many low-income countries, the private commercial sector plays an important role in the provision of malaria treatment. However, the quality of care it provides is often poor, with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) generally being too costly for consumers. Decreasing ACT prices is critical for improving private sector treatment outcomes and reducing the spread of artemisinin resistance. Yet limited evidence exists on the factors influencing retailers' pricing decisions. This study investigates the determinants of price mark-ups on anti-malarial drugs in retail outlets in Cambodia.
Taking an economics perspective, the study tests the hypothesis that the structure of the anti-malarial market determines the way providers set their prices. Providers facing weak competition are hypothesized to apply high mark-ups and set prices above the competitive level. To analyse the relationship between market competition and provider pricing, the study used cross-sectional data from retail outlets selling anti-malarial drugs, including outlet characteristics data (e.g. outlet type, anti-malarial sales volumes), range of anti-malarial drugs stocked (e.g. dosage form, brand status) and purchase and selling prices. Market concentration, a measure of the level of market competition, was estimated using sales volume data. Market accessibility was defined based on travel time to the closest main commercial area. Percent mark-ups were calculated using price data. The relationship between mark-ups and market concentration was explored using regression analysis.
The anti-malarial market was on average highly concentrated, suggesting weak competition. Higher concentration was positively associated with higher mark-ups in moderately accessible markets only, with no significant relationship or a negative relationship in other markets. Other determinants of pricing included anti-malarial brand status and generic type, with higher mark-ups on cheaper products.
The results indicate that provider pricing as well as other key elements of anti-malarial supply and demand may have played an important role in the limited access to appropriate malaria treatment in Cambodia. The potential for an ACT price subsidy at manufacturer level combined with effective communications directed at consumers and supportive private sector regulation should be explored to improve access to quality malaria treatment in Cambodia.
Full-text available · Article · May 2015 · Malaria Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In contexts where health services are mostly publicly provided and access is still limited, health financing systems require some mechanism for distributing financial resources across geographic areas according to population need. Equity in public health expenditure has been evaluated either by comparing allocations across spending units to equitable shares established using resource allocation formulae, or by using benefit incidence analysis to look at the distribution of expenditure across individual service users. In the latter case, the distribution across individuals has typically not been linked to the mechanisms that determine the allocation across geographic areas, and to the utilization of specific services by individuals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is recommended in HIV-negative women to avert malaria, while this relies on cotrimoxazole prophylaxis (CTXp) in HIV-positive women. Alternative antimalarials are required in areas where parasite resistance to antifolate drugs is high. The cost-effectiveness of IPTp with alternative drugs is needed to inform policy.
The cost-effectiveness of 2-dose IPTp-mefloquine (MQ) was compared with IPTp-SP in HIV-negative women (Benin, Gabon, Mozambique and Tanzania). In HIV-positive women the cost-effectiveness of 3-dose IPTp-MQ added to CTXp was compared with CTXp alone (Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania). The outcomes used were maternal clinical malaria, anaemia at delivery and non-obstetric hospital admissions. The poor tolerability to MQ was included as the value of women's loss of working days. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated and threshold analysis undertaken.
For HIV-negative women, the ICER for IPTp-MQ versus IPTp-SP was 136.30 US$ (2012 US$) (95%CI 131.41; 141.18) per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted, or 237.78 US$ (95%CI 230.99; 244.57), depending on whether estimates from Gabon were included or not. For HIV-positive women, the ICER per DALY averted for IPTp-MQ added to CTXp, versus CTXp alone was 6.96 US$ (95%CI 4.22; 9.70). In HIV-negative women, moderate shifts of variables such as malaria incidence, drug cost, and IPTp efficacy increased the ICERs above the cost-effectiveness threshold. In HIV-positive women the intervention remained cost-effective for a substantial (up to 21 times) increase in cost per tablet.
Addition of IPTp with an effective antimalarial to CTXp was very cost-effective in HIV-positive women. IPTp with an efficacious antimalarial was more cost-effective than IPTp-SP in HIV-negative women. However, the poor tolerability of MQ does not favour its use as IPTp. Regardless of HIV status, prevention of malaria in pregnancy with a highly efficacious, well tolerated antimalarial would be cost-effective despite its high price.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT 00811421; Pan African Trials Registry PACTR2010020001429343 and PACTR2010020001813440.
Full-text available · Article · Apr 2015 · PLoS ONE
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To describe the state of the public and private malaria diagnostics market shortly after WHO updated its guidelines for testing all suspected malaria cases prior to treatment.
10 nationally representative cross-sectional cluster surveys were conducted in 2011 among public and private health facilities, community health workers, and retail outlets (pharmacies and drug shops) in 9 countries (Tanzania-mainland and Zanzibar surveyed separately). Eligible outlets had antimalarials in stock on the day of interview or had stocked antimalarials in the past three months.
3,439 RDT products from 39 manufacturers were audited among 12,197 outlets interviewed. Availability was typically highest in public health facilities, though availability in these facilities varied greatly across countries, from 15% in Nigeria to >90% in Madagascar and Cambodia. Private for-profit sector availability was 46% in Cambodia, 20% in Zambia, but low in other countries. Median retail prices for RDTs in the private for-profit sector ranged from $0.00 in Madagascar to $3.13 in Zambia. The reported number of RDTs used in the 7 days before the survey in public health facilities ranged from 3 (Benin) to 50 (Zambia).
18 months after WHO updated its case management guidelines, RDT availability remained poor in the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Given the ongoing importance of the private sector as a source of fever treatment, the goal of universal diagnosis will not be achievable under current circumstances. These results constitute national baselines against which progress in scaling-up diagnostic tests can be assessed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article · Feb 2015 · Tropical Medicine & International Health