Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Public sector services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection: a micro-costing survey in Namibia and Rwanda

Hapsatou Touré, Martine Audibert, Patricia Doughty, Landry Tsague, Placidie Mugwaneza, Elevanie Nyankesha, Steve Okokwu, Cedric Limbo, Makan Coulibaly, Virginie Ettiègne-Traoré, Chewe Luo, Francois Dabis & for the PMTCT Costing Multi-country Team

Objective

To assess the costs associated with the provision of services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus in two African countries.

Methods

In 2009, the costs to health-care providers of providing comprehensive PMTCT services were assessed in 20 public health facilities in Namibia and Rwanda. Information on prices and on the total amount of each service provided was collected at the national level. The costs of maternal testing and counselling, male partner testing, CD4+ T-lymphocyte (CD4+ cell) counts, antiretroviral prophylaxis and treatment, community-based activities, contraception for 2 years postpartum and early infant diagnosis were estimated in United States dollars (US$).

Findings

The estimated costs to the providers of PMTCT, for each mother–infant pair, were US$ 202.75–1029.55 in Namibia and US$ 94.14–342.35 in Rwanda. These costs varied with the drug regimen employed. At 2009 coverage levels, the maximal estimates of the national costs of PMTCT were US$ 3.15 million in Namibia and US$ 7.04 million in Rwanda (or < US$ 0.75 per capita in both countries). Adult testing and counselling accounted for the highest proportions of the national costs (37% and 74% in Namibia and Rwanda, respectively), followed by management and supervision. Treatment and prophylaxis accounted for less than 20% of the costs of PMTCT in both study countries.

Conclusion

The costs involved in the PMTCT of HIV varied widely between study countries and in accordance with the protocols used. However, since per-capita costs were relatively low, the scaling up of PMTCT services in Namibia and Rwanda should be possible.

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