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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - PloS One
Title How Much Does It Cost to Improve Access to Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision among High-Risk, Low-Income Communities in Uganda?
Volume 10
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119484
Background: The Ugandan Ministry of Health has endorsed voluntary medical male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy and has set ambitious goals (e.g., 4.2 million circumcisions by 2015). Innovative strategies to improve access for hard to reach, high risk, and poor populations are essential for reaching such goals. In 2009, the Makerere University Walter Reed Project began the first facility-based VMMC program in Uganda in a non-research setting. In addition, a mobile clinic began providing VMMC services to more remote, rural locations in 2011. The primary objective of this study was to estimate the average cost of performing VMMCs in the mobile clinic compared to those performed in health facilities (fixed sites). The difference between such costs is the cost of improving access to VMMC.

Methods: A micro-costing approach was used to estimate costs from the service provider’s perspective of a circumcision. Supply chain and higher-level program support costs are not included.

Results: The average cost (US$2012) of resources used per circumcision was $61 in the mobile program ($72 for more remote locations) compared to $34 at the fixed site. Costs for community mobilization, HIV testing, the initial medical exam, and staff for performing VMMC operations were similar for both programs. The cost of disposable surgical kits, the additional upfront cost for the mobile clinic, and additional costs for staff drive the differences in costs between the two programs. Cost estimates are relatively insensitive to patient flow over time.

Conclusion: The MUWRP VMMC program improves access for hard to reach, relatively poor, and high-risk rural populations for a cost of $27-$38 per VMMC. Costs to patients to access services are almost certainly less in the mobile program, by reducing out-of-pocket travel expenses and lost time and associated income, all of which have been shown to be barriers for accessing treatment.

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