PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2018 12 27;12(12):e0007002. Epub 2018 Dec 27.
Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston MA, United States of America.
Background: Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) account for a large disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa. While the general cost-effectiveness of NTD interventions to improve health outcomes has been assessed, few studies have also accounted for the financial and education gains of investing in NTD control.
Methods: We built on extended cost-effectiveness analysis (ECEA) methods to assess the health gains (e.g. infections, disability-adjusted life years or DALYs averted), household financial gains (out-of-pocket expenditures averted), and education gains (cases of school absenteeism averted) for five NTD interventions that the government of Madagascar aims to roll out nationally. The five NTDs considered were schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, and three soil-transmitted helminthiases (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworm infections).
Results: The estimated incremental cost-effectiveness for the roll-out of preventive chemotherapy for all NTDs jointly was USD125 per DALY averted (95% uncertainty range: 65-231), and its benefit-cost ratio could vary between 5 and 31. Our analysis estimated that, per dollar spent, schistosomiasis preventive chemotherapy, in particular, could avert a large number of infections (176,000 infections averted per $100,000 spent), DALYs (2,000 averted per $100,000 spent), and cases of school absenteeism (27,000 school years gained per $100,000 spent).
Conclusion: This analysis incorporates financial and education gains into the economic evaluation of health interventions, and therefore provides information about the efficiency of attainment of three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our findings reveal how the national scale-up of NTD control in Madagascar can help address health (SDG3), economic (SDG1), and education (SDG4) goals. This study further highlights the potentially large societal benefits of investing in NTD control in low-resource settings.