Assessing the cost-efectiveness of contraceptive methods from a health provider perspective: case study of Kiambu County Hospital, Kenya
By James Kiragu Ngacha* and Richard Ayah
Kenya’s contraceptive prevalence rate at 53% is low, with wide disparity among the 47 counties that make up the country (2–76%). Significant financial investment is required to maintain this level of contraceptive use and increase it to levels seen in more developed countries. This is in the context of a growing population, declining donor funding, limited fiscal space and competing health challenges. Studies have shown that long-term contraceptive methods are more cost-effective than short-term methods. However, it is unclear if this applies in Sub-Saharan Africa; with limited financial resources, lower social economic status among users, and publicly managed commodity supply chains, in vertical programs largely dependent on donor funding. This study assessed the cost-effectiveness of contraceptive methods used in Kenya.
A cross-sectional study was undertaken in a county referral hospital in mid-2018. Purposive sampling of 5 family planning clinic providers and systematic sampling of 15 service delivery sessions per method was done. Questionnaire aided interviews were done to determine inputs required to provide services and direct observation to measure time taken to provide each method. Cost per method was determined using activity based costing, effectiveness via couple year protection conversion factors, and cost-effectiveness was expressed as cost per couple year protection.
The intra-uterine copper device was most cost-effective at 4.87 US dollars per couple year protection followed by the 2-Rod Implant at 6.36, the 1-Rod Implant at 9.50, DMPA at 23.68, while the combined oral contraceptive pills were least cost-effective at 38.60 US dollars per couple year protection. Long-term methods attracted a higher initial cost of service delivery when compared to short-term methods.
Long-term contraceptive methods are more cost-effective. As such, investing in long-term contraceptives would save costs despite higher initial cost of service delivery. It is recommended, therefore, that Sub-Saharan Africa countries allocate more domestic financial resources towards availability of contraceptive services, preferably with multi-year planning and budget commitment. The resources should be invested in a wide range of interventions shown to increase uptake of long-term methods, including reduction of cost barriers for the younger population, thereby increasing contraceptive prevalence rates.
Keywords: Contraceptive methods, Contraceptive prevalence rate, Cost-effectiveness, Couple year protection
Plain Language Summary:
The proportion of women of reproductive age using a contraceptive method in Kenya, at 53% is low. More funding is required to ensure women who need contraceptives have access and continue using them. Previous research has shown that contraceptives that protect a woman from getting pregnant for an extended period utilize less resource. This study assessed the potential of contraceptives used in Kenya to produce results at less cost. This study was undertaken in a sub-national referral hospital in mid-2018. A sample of 5 family planning clinic providers was interviewed while 15 contraceptive service sessions per method were observed. The interviews were conducted to determine the supplies required to offer services. Observation was used to measure time taken to provide each contraceptive method. The cost associated with providing each contraceptive per year was determined using activity based costing. Effectiveness of each method was determined using the rate of protection from pregnancy during one-year. Cost-effectiveness was the money utilized to achieve protection from pregnancy in one year of use. The Copper-T coil was found to achieve greater results at a lesser cost of 4.87 US dollars for one year of protection from pregnancy, followed by the 2-Rod Implant at US dollars 6.36, the 1-Rod Implant at 9.50, DMPA at 23.68, and The Pill at 38.60 US dollars. Contraceptive methods that protect a woman from getting pregnant for a longer period utilize less resource. Investing in such would save costs despite requiring higher initial cost of service provision.