The objective of this study was to compare the costs of antenatal syphilis screening with the rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test and the immunochromatographic strip (ICS) test in low-resource settings.
The goal of this study was to assess the costs of introducing rapid syphilis tests to reduce maternal and congenital syphilis.
Cost data were collected from participating study hospitals and antenatal clinics during 4 field visits to the 2 countries in 2003 and 2004. Health utilization outcome data on the number of women screened and treated routinely during the demonstration projects were used with unit cost data to estimate the incremental costs and average cost per woman screened and treated for maternal syphilis.
In Mozambique, the average cost per woman screened was U.S. $0.91 and U.S. $1.05 for the RPR and ICS tests, respectively. In Bolivia, the average cost of screening was U.S. $1.48 and U.S. $1.91 using the RPR and ICS test, respectively. In health centers without laboratories, the cost per woman screened using the ICS test ranged from U.S. $1.02 in Mozambique to U.S. $2.84 in Bolivia.
It is feasible to introduce rapid syphilis testing in settings without laboratory services at a small incremental cost per woman screened. In settings with laboratories, the cost of ICS is similar to that of RPR.