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Frequently cited benefit-cost ratios suggest that interventions to improve neurodevelopment have high economic returns when implemented during pregnancy and early childhood. However, there are many challenges when primary care providers implement these interventions at scale, and it is unclear how many research studies or programmes have examined cost-effectiveness and which methods were used. There are no current scoping or systematic reviews which have assessed economic evaluations of interventions delivered by primary care providers to improve child neurodevelopment.
The aim of this review is to describe the economic evaluations of interventions delivered by primary care providers to improve neurodevelopment in children aged 0–4 years. Specific subgroup analyses will include income level of country (high, middle and low); population type (universal vs targeted); time period when intervention was implemented (antenatal vs infancy [0–11 months] vs early childhood [12–59 months]); and setting (research study vs programmes evaluation at scale). All study designs will be included. The primary outcomes of interest are cost per neurodevelopmental or cognitive health gain in children aged 0–4 years. All measures of cost, neurodevelopment or cognitive function that have been previously validated as an appropriate test in this domain will be included. Databases such as MEDLINE (OVID), PsycINFO (OVID), EMBASE (OVID), CINAHL, Cochrane Library (including CENTRAL, DARE, HTA and NHS EED), Paediatric Economic Database Evaluation (PEDE) and WHO databases and reference lists of papers will be searched for relevant articles. Five phases will be followed: identifying the research question, identifying relevant studies, study selection, charting data and collating, summarising and reporting results. We will present cost and effectiveness data descriptively.
This review appears to be the first to be conducted in this area. The findings will be an important resource for future systematic reviews on interventions that have a cost component. This information will be valuable for policy makers and programmers who work in public health or primary care settings.