Economic evaluation of a leprosy innovation project in Northern Nigeria: cost-effectiveness analysis
Background: The state of leprosy in Nigeria and the realities of post elimination era underscore the need for evidence- based cost-effective approach to early case detection for enhanced control and elimination of leprosy. This study evaluated the operational cost-effectiveness of a community delivered Legacy Innovative Project implemented to enhance leprosy case detection in northern Nigeria.
Methods: Data were collected from an explorative cross-sectional study, undertaken in a practice setting among endemic communities in three states in northern Nigeria. Primary and secondary data were collected from the project, routine records and programme annual reports. Costs and effects were measured from both providers’ and patients’ perspectives, and outcome expressed as cost per new case detected. Incremental estimates of costs and effects of the project compared to routine practice were used to obtain the cost-effectiveness result, as incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). All costs were converted to the US Dollar at 2018exchange rate (N350 = US$1.00). Univariate sensitivity analysis was performed to evaluate uncertainties around the ICER.
Results: The Project overall detected a total of 347 newly confirmed leprosy cases at a total annual cost of US$49,337.19, averaging US$142.18 per new case detected. Key cost drivers included routine meetings, which accounted for 28% of total expenditure, while Social Mobilization and Training/Workshop accounted for17% respectively. Findings were similar across the states. Overall, the Project dominated routine practice with ICER of US$(-17.73) per additional/new case detected, as a very cost-effective strategy. Sensitivity analysis reinforced the cost-effectiveness result.
Conclusions: The Legacy Innovative Project demonstrated a more efficient and cost-saving approach to leprosy case detection. Findings present important information to policy and programmes for enhanced control and elimination of leprosy in related settings. .