Child Health Week in Zambia: costs, efficiency, coverage and a reassessment of need

Type Journal Article - Health policy and planning
Title Child Health Week in Zambia: costs, efficiency, coverage and a reassessment of need
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Child Health Weeks (CHWs) are semi-annual, campaign-style, facility- and outreach-based events that provide a package of high-impact nutrition and health services to under-five children. Since 1999, 30% of the 85 countries that regularly implement campaign-style vitamin A supplementation programmes have transformed their programmes into CHW. Using data drawn from districts’ budget, expenditures and salary documents, UNICEF’s CHW planning and budgeting tool and a special purposive survey, an economic analysis of the June 2010 CHW’s provision of measles, vitamin A and deworming was conducted using activity-based costing combined with an ingredients approach. Total CHW costs were estimated to be US$5.7 million per round. Measles accounted for 57%, deworming 22% and vitamin A 21% of total costs. The cost per child was US$0.46. The additional supplies and personnel required to include measles increased total costs by 42%, but reduced the average costs of providing vitamin A and deworming alone, manifesting economies of scope. The average costs of covering larger, more urban populations was less than the cost of covering smaller, more dispersed populations. Provincial-level costs per child served were determined primarily by the number of service sites, not the number of children treated. Reliance on volunteers to provide 60% of CHW manpower enables expanding coverage, shortening the duration of CHWs and reduces costs by one-third. With costs of $1093 per life saved and $45 per disability-adjusted life-year saved, WHO criteria classify Zambia’s CHWs as ‘very cost-effective’. The continued need for CHWs is discussed.

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