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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2019

Assessing the cost of providing a prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS service in Ethiopia: urban-rural health facilities setting

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2019
Elias Asfaw Zegeye, Josue Mbonigaba, Sylvia Kaye, Benjamin Johns
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12913-019-3978-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



While local context costing evidence is relevant for healthcare planning, budgeting and cost-effectiveness analysis, it continues to be scarce in Ethiopia. This study assesses the cost of providing a prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) service across heterogeneous prevalence (high, low) and socio-economic (urban, rural) contexts.


A total of 12 health facilities from six regions in Ethiopia were purposively selected from the latest 2012 antenatal sentinel HIV prevalence report. Six health facilities with the highest HIV prevalence (8.1 to 17.3%) in urban settings and six health facilities with the lowest prevalence (0.0 to 0.1%) in rural settings were selected. A micro-costing approach was applied to identify, measure and value resources used for the provision of a comprehensive PMTCT service. The analysis was conducted across different PMTCT service packages. We also estimated national costs in urban and rural contexts.


The average cost per pregnant woman-infant pair per year (PPY) ranged from ETB 6280 (USD 319) to ETB 21,620 (USD 1099) in the urban high HIV prevalence health facilities setting. In rural low HIV prevalence health facilities, the cost ranged from ETB 4323 (USD 220) to ETB 7539 (USD 383).PMTCT service provision in urban health facilities costs more than twice the cost in rural health facilities. The average cost per PPY in an urban setting was more than double the cost in a rural setting due to the higher cost of inputs and possible inefficiencies (although there were a higher number of visits). Consumables (including antiretroviral drugs) and infrastructure were the major cost drivers in both the urban and rural health facilities. Among PMTCT service components, anti-retroviral treatment Option B+ follow-up and counselling accounted for the highest proportion of costs, which ranged from 58 to 72%. Nationally, at the current coverage, the cost of PMTCT service was USD 6 million and USD 3 million in urban and rural settings, respectively.


The analysis suggests that resources used for PMTCT service packages varied across health facilities and HIV prevalence contexts. Providing PMTCT service in the high HIV prevalence urban health facilities costs more than in the rural facilities. Context-specific costing was vital to provide locally sensitive evidence for health service management and priority setting.
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