The cost-effectiveness of incentive-based active case finding for tuberculosis (TB) control in the private sector Karachi, Pakistan
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: In Asia, over 50% of patients with symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) access health care from private providers. These patients are usually not notified to the National TB Control Programs, which contributes to low notification rates in many countries. Methods: From January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012, Karachi’s Indus Hospital - a private sector partner to the National TB Programme - engaged 80 private family clinics in its catchment area in active case finding using health worker incentives to increase notification of TB disease. The costs incurred were estimated from the perspective of patients, health facility and the program providing TB services. A Markov decision tree model was developed to calculate the cost-effectiveness of the active case finding as compared to case detection through the routine passive TB centers. Pakistan has a large private health sector, which can be mobilized for TB screening using an incentivized active case finding strategy. Currently, TB screening is largely performed in specialist public TB centers through passive case finding. Active and passive case finding strategies are assumed to operate independently from each other. Results: The incentive-based active case finding program costed USD 223 per patient treated. In contrast, the center based non-incentive arm was 23.4% cheaper, costing USD 171 per patient treated. Cost-effectiveness analysis showed that the incentive-based active case finding program was more effective and less expensive per DALY averted when compared to the baseline passive case finding as it averts an additional 0.01966 DALYs and saved 15.74 US$ per patient treated. Conclusion: Both screening strategies appear to be cost-effective in an urban Pakistan context. Incentive driven active case findings of TB in the private sector costs less and averts more DALYs per health seeker than passive case finding, when both alternatives are compared to a common baseline situation of no screening.