To assess the costs of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention care according to international guidelines, in a primary healthcare clinic in rural Nigeria, participating in a health insurance programme.
A micro-costing study was conducted from a healthcare provider perspective. Activities per patient per year (e.g. consultations, diagnostic tests) were based on clinical practice in the study clinic. Direct (e.g. staff, drugs) and indirect cost items (overheads) for each activity were measured. A cohort study, patient and staff observations, and interviews in the study clinic provided patient resource utilization data. Univariate sensitivity analyses were performed. Scenario analyses evaluated cost-saving options. The main outcome was the costs of CVD prevention care per patient per year.
The costs of CVD prevention care were United States dollars (USD) 144 (range 130–158) per patient per year. Direct costs were USD 82 and indirect costs were USD 62. The main cost drivers were drugs (USD 39) and diagnostic tests (USD 36). The costs of hypertension care were USD 118 (107–132) and that of diabetes care USD 263 (236–289) per patient per year. A combination of task-shifting from doctors to nurses, reduction of appointment frequencies, and minimal organ damage screening would result in a direct cost reduction of 42%.
This is the first study to report the costs of CVD prevention care in sub-Saharan Africa, based on prospectively collected operational data. The costs observed in our study are unaffordable in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the need for innovative financing mechanisms to fund CVD prevention care.