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Cost-effectiveness analysis of emergency obstetric services in a crisis environment

Deboutte, Danielle (2011) Cost-effectiveness analysis of emergency obstetric services in a crisis environment. Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

The study investigated the cost-effectiveness of caesarean section (CS) as the major component of Emergency Obstetric Care (EMOC) in a humanitarian context. Research was conducted from December 2007 until June 2008 in Bunia, in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Methods A case-control study explored the factors determining whether a woman had a CS or a vaginal delivery. Cases (n=178) were randomly selected from women who had delivered by CS. Controls (n=180) were women who had delivered vaginally within two weeks of a case and were matched by place of residency. Face-to face interviews in the local language used a structured questionnaire about obstetric and socio-economic factors. Obstetric care was assessed during repeat visits to health structures using checklists. Provider cost of CS was calculated for four hospitals, of which one provided free emergency healthcare. Information about cost allocation to CS was collected from hospital managers, maternity staff, and administrators. Costs were verified with local entrepreneurs, international organisations and UN agencies. The social cost of maternal death was discussed in focus groups, which also obtained user cost information additional to the data from the case-control study. Results CS constituted 9.7% of expected deliveries in the Bunia Health Zone. During the study period, the humanitarian hospital performed 75% of all CS. There were no elective CSs in the study sample. The study found no evidence of obstetric surgery for non-medical reasons. Previous CS and prolonged labour during this delivery were the strongest predictive factors for CS. The risk increased with age of the mother and decreased with the number of children alive. Fifteen obstetric deaths were reported to the research team, three among them were women who had a CS. After adjusting the observed number for missed pregnancy-related and late post-partum deaths, the estimated number of maternal deaths avoided by humanitarian EMOC, compared to expected mortality without additional services, ranged from 20 to 228. Compared to recent estimates for the DRC, perinatal deaths avoided ranged from 237 to 453. Cost-effectiveness was expressed as cost per year of healthy life expectancy (HALE) gained. The estimated cost of adding one year of HALE by providing CSs in a humanitarian context ranged from 3.77 USD to 9.17 USD. Comparison of the cost of EMOC and the social cost of maternal death was complicated by the existence of local customs such as “sororate”. The user capacity to pay for health insurance was found to be low. Conclusion Caesarean sections as part of humanitarian assistance were cost-effective. To keep EMOC accessible during and following the transition from emergency relief to development, a change in the national financing policy for health services is advisable.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects:R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Medicine > School of Health Sciences
Status:Unpublished
ID Code:4453
Deposited On:11 Jan 2012 09:15
Last Modified:11 Jan 2012 09:16

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