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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2019

The monetary value of human lives lost through Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2019
Joses M. Kirigia, Rose Nabi Deborah Karimi Muthuri, Newton Gitonga Muthuri
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Between 8 May 2018 and 27 May 2019, cumulatively there were 1286 deaths from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The objective of this study was to estimate the monetary value of human lives lost through EVD in DRC.


Human capital approach was applied to monetarily value years of life lost due to premature deaths from EVD. The future losses were discounted to their present values at 3% discount rate. The model was reanalysed using 5 and 10% discount rates. The analysis was done alternately using the average life expectancies for DRC, the world, and the Japanese females to assess the effect on the monetary value of years of life lost (MVYLL).


The 1286 deaths resulted in a total MVYLL of Int$17,761,539 assuming 3% discount rate and DRC life expectancy of 60.5 years. The average monetary value per EVD death was of Int$13,801. About 44.7 and 48.6% of the total MVYLL was borne by children aged below 9 years and adults aged between 15 years and 59 years, respectively.
Re-estimation of the algorithm with average life expectancies of the world (both sexes) and Japanese females, holding discount rate constant at 3%, increased the MVYLL by Int$ 3,667,085 (20.6%) and Int$ 7,508,498 (42.3%), respectively. The application of discount rates of 5 and 10%, holding life expectancy constant at 60.5 years, reduced the MVYLL by Int$ 4,252,785 (− 23.9%) and Int$ 9,658,195 (− 54.4%) respectively.


The EVD outbreak in DRC led to a considerable MVYLL. There is an urgent need for DRC government and development partners to disburse adequate resources to strengthen the national health system and other systems that address social determinants of health to end recurrence of EVD outbreaks.
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