• An ambulance referral network improves access to emergency obstetric and neonatal care in a district of rural Burundi with high maternal mortality

      Tayler-Smith, K; Zachariah, R; Manzi, M; Van den Boogaard, W; Nyandwi, G; Reid, T; De Plecker, E; Lambert, V; Nicolai, M; Goetghebuer, S; et al. (2013-08)
      In 2006, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) established an emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmONC) referral facility linked to an ambulance referral system for the transfer of women with obstetric complications from peripheral maternity units in Kabezi district, rural Burundi. This study aimed to (i) describe the communication and ambulance service together with the cost; (ii) examine the association between referral times and maternal and early neonatal deaths; and (iii) assess the impact of the referral service on coverage of complicated obstetric cases and caesarean sections.
    • Control of mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, a neglected disease: results of a control programme in Satipo Province, Peru.

      Guthmann, J P; Arlt, D; Garcia, L M L; Rosales, M; de Jesus Sanchez, J; Alvarez, E; Lonlas, S; Conte, M; Bertoletti, G; Fournier, C; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005-09)
      Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL) is an important health problem in many rural areas of Latin America, but there are few data on the results of programmatic approaches to control the disease. We report the results of a control programme in San Martin de Pangoa District, which reports one of the highest prevalences of MCL in Peru. For 2 years (2001--2002), the technicians at the health post were trained in patient case management, received medical support and were supplied with antimonials. An evaluation after 2 years showed the following main achievements: better diagnosis of patients, who were confirmed by microscopy in 34% (82/240) of the cases in 2001 and 60% of the cases (153/254) in 2002; improved follow-up during treatment: 237 of 263 (90%) patients who initiated an antimonial therapy ended the full treatment course; improved follow-up after treatment: 143 of 237 (60%) patients who ended their full treatment were correctly monitored during the required period of 6 (cutaneous cases) or 12 (mucosal cases) months after the end of treatment. These achievements were largely due to the human and logistical resources made available, the constant availability of medications and the close collaboration between the Ministry of Health, a national research institute and an international non-governmental organization. At the end of this period, the health authorities decided to register a generic brand of sodium stibogluconate, which is now in use. This should allow the treatment of a significant number of additional patients, while saving money to invest in other facets of the case management.
    • Cost and cost-effectiveness of switching from d4T or AZT to a TDF-based first-line regimen in a resource-limited setting in rural Lesotho

      Jouquet, Guillaume; Bygrave, Helen; Kranzer, Katharina; Ford, Nathan; Gadot, Laurent; Lee, Janice; Hilderbrand, Katherine; Goemaere, Eric; Vlahakis, Natalie; Trivino, Laura; et al. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011-11-01)
      Latest World Health Organization guidelines recommend shifting away from Stavudine (d4T)-based regimens due to severe side effects. However, widespread replacement of d4T by Tenofovir (TDF) or Zidovudine (AZT) is hampered by cost concerns.
    • Diagnosis and management of antiretroviral-therapy failure in resource-limited settings in sub-Saharan Africa: challenges and perspectives.

      Harries, Anthony D; Zachariah, Rony; van Oosterhout, Joep J; Reid, Steven D; Hosseinipour, Mina C; Arendt, Vic; Chirwa, Zengani; Jahn, Andreas; Schouten, Erik J; Kamoto, Kelita; et al. (2010-01)
      Despite the enormous progress made in scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa, many challenges remain, not least of which are the identification and management of patients who have failed first-line therapy. Less than 3% of patients are receiving second-line treatment at present, whereas 15-25% of patients have detectable viral loads 12 months or more into treatment, of whom a substantial proportion might have virological failure. We discuss the reasons why virological ART failure is likely to be under-diagnosed in the routine health system, and address the current difficulties with standard recommended second-line ART regimens. The development of new diagnostic tools for ART failure, in particular a point-of-care HIV viral-load test, combined with simple and inexpensive second-line therapy, such as boosted protease-inhibitor monotherapy, could revolutionise the management of ART failure in resource-limited settings.
    • Drug policy for visceral leishmaniasis: a cost-effectiveness analysis.

      Vanlerberghe, V; Diap, G; Guerin, P J; Meheus, F; Gerstl, S; Van der Stuyft, P; Boelaert, M; Epidemiology and Disease Control Unit, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. vvanlerberghe@itg.be (2007-02)
      OBJECTIVE: To facilitate the choice of the best visceral leishmaniasis (VL) treatment strategy for first-line health services in (VL)-endemic areas, we compared in a formal decision analysis the cost and the cost-effectiveness of the different available options. METHODS: We selected four drug regimens for VL on the basis of frequency of use, feasibility and reported efficacy studies. The point estimates and the range of plausible values of effectiveness and cost were retrieved from a literature review. A decision tree was constructed and the strategy minimizing the cost per death averted was selected. RESULTS: Treatment with amphotericin B deoxycholate was the most effective approach in the baseline analysis and averted 87.2% of all deaths attributable to VL. The least expensive and the most cost-effective treatment was the miltefosine regimen, and the most expensive and the least cost-effective was AmBisome treatment. The cost of drug and medical care are the main determinants of the cost-effectiveness ranking of the alternative schemes. Sensitivity analysis showed that antimonial was competitive with miltefosine in the low-resistance regions. CONCLUSION: In areas with >94% response rates to antimonials, generic sodium stibogluconate remains the most cost-effective option for VL treatment, mainly due to low drug cost. In other regions, miltefosine is the most cost-effective option of treatment, but its use as a first-line drug is limited by its teratogenicity and rapid resistance development. AmBisome in mono- or combination therapy is too expensive to compete in cost-effectiveness with the other regimens.
    • Editorial: The AIDS crisis, cost-effectiveness and academic activism.

      Boelaert, M; Van Damme, W; Meessen, B; Van der Stuyft, P (2002-12)
    • Health development versus medical relief: the illusion versus the irrelevance of sustainability.

      Ooms, G; Belgian section of Médecins Sans Frontières. ooms@brussels.msf.org (Public Library of Science, 2006-08)
    • Operational and Economic Evaluation of an NGO-led Sexually Transmitted Infections Intervention: North-Western Cambodia

      Carrara, V; Terris-Prestholt, F; Kumaranayake, L; Mayaud, P; Banteay Meanchey Projects, Cambodia/Médecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Published by WHO, 2005-06)
      OBJECTIVE: Sexually transmitted infection (STI) services were offered by the nongovernmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland in Banteay Meanchey province, Cambodia, between 1997 and 1999. These services targeted female sex workers but were available to the general population. We conducted an evaluation of the operational performance and costs of this real-life project. METHODS: Effectiveness outcomes (syndromic cure rates of STIs) were obtained by retrospectively analysing patients' records. Annual financial and economic costs were estimated from the provider's perspective. Unit costs for the cost-effectiveness analysis included the cost per visit, per partner treated, and per syndrome treated and cured. FINDINGS: Over 30 months, 11,330 patients attended the clinics; of these, 7776 (69%) were STI index patients and only 1012 (13%) were female sex workers. A total of 15 269 disease episodes and 30 488 visits were recorded. Syndromic cure rates ranged from 39% among female sex workers with genital ulcers to 74% among men with genital discharge; there were variations over time. Combined rates of syndromes classified as cured or improved were around 84-95% for all syndromes. The total economic costs of the project were US 766,046 dollars. The average cost per visit over 30 months was US 25.12 dollars and the cost per partner treated for an STI was US 50.79 dollars. The average cost per STI syndrome treated was US 48.43 dollars, of which US 4.92 dollars was for drug treatment. The costs per syndrome cured or improved ranged from US 46.95-153.00 dollars for men with genital ulcers to US 57.85-251.98 dollars for female sex workers with genital discharge. CONCLUSION: This programme was only partly successful in reaching its intended target population of sex workers and their male partners. Decreasing cure rates among sex workers led to relatively poor cost-effectiveness outcomes overall despite decreasing unit costs.
    • Operational response to malaria epidemics: are rapid diagnostic tests cost-effective?

      Rolland, E; Checchi, F; Pinoges, L; Balkan, S; Guthmann, J P; Guerin, P J; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-04)
      OBJECTIVE: To compare the cost-effectiveness of malaria treatment based on presumptive diagnosis with that of malaria treatment based on rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). METHODS: We calculated direct costs (based on experience from Ethiopia and southern Sudan) and effectiveness (in terms of reduced over-treatment) of a free, decentralised treatment programme using artesunate plus amodiaquine (AS + AQ) or artemether-lumefantrine (ART-LUM) in a Plasmodium falciparum epidemic. Our main cost-effectiveness measure was the incremental cost per false positive treatment averted by RDTs. RESULTS: As malaria prevalence increases, the difference in cost between presumptive and RDT-based treatment rises. The threshold prevalence above which the RDT-based strategy becomes more expensive is 21% in the AS + AQ scenario and 55% in the ART-LUM scenario, but these thresholds increase to 58 and 70%, respectively, if the financing body tolerates an incremental cost of 1 euro per false positive averted. However, even at a high (90%) prevalence of malaria consistent with an epidemic peak, an RDT-based strategy would only cost moderately more than the presumptive strategy: +29.9% in the AS + AQ scenario and +19.4% in the ART-LUM scenario. The treatment comparison is insensitive to the age and pregnancy distribution of febrile cases, but is strongly affected by variation in non-biomedical costs. If their unit price were halved, RDTs would be more cost-effective at a malaria prevalence up to 45% in case of AS + AQ treatment and at a prevalence up to 68% in case of ART-LUM treatment. CONCLUSION: In most epidemic prevalence scenarios, RDTs would considerably reduce over-treatment for only a moderate increase in costs over presumptive diagnosis. A substantial decrease in RDT unit price would greatly increase their cost-effectiveness, and should thus be advocated. A tolerated incremental cost of 1 euro is probably justified given overall public health and financial benefits. The RDTs should be considered for malaria epidemics if logistics and human resources allow.
    • Patients' Costs Associated With Seeking and Accessing Treatment for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in South Africa

      Ramma, L; Cox, H; Wilkinson, L; Foster, N; Cunnama, L; Vassall, A; Sinanovic, E (International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, 2015-12)
      South Africa is one of the world's 22 high tuberculosis (TB) burden countries, with the second highest number of notified rifampicin-resistant TB (R(R)-TB) and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases.
    • Tuberculosis treatment in complex emergencies: are risks outweighing benefits?

      Biot, M; Chandramohan, D; Porter, J D H; MSF Brussels (2003-03)
      Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in complex emergencies. Humanitarian agencies usually postpone the decision to offer TB treatment and opportunities to treat TB patients are often missed. This paper looks at the problem of tuberculosis treatment in these emergencies and questions whether treatment guidelines could be more flexible than international recommendations. A mathematical model is used to calculate the risks and benefits of different treatment scenarios with increasing default rates. Model outcomes are compared to a situation without treatment. An economic analysis further discusses the findings in a trade-off between the extra costs of treating relapses and failures and the savings in future treatment costs. In complex emergencies, if a TB programme could offer 4-month treatment for 75% of its patients, it could still be considered beneficial in terms of public health. In addition, the proportion of patients following at least 4 months of treatment can be used as an indicator to help evaluate the public health harm and benefit of the TB programme.
    • Universal access in the fight against HIV/AIDS

      Girard, Françoise; Ford, Nathan; Montaner, Julio; Cahn, Pedro; Katabira, Elly; Open Society Institute Public Health Program, New York, NY, USA; Médecins Sans Frontières, Cape Town, South Africa; Division of AIDS, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Fundacion Huesped, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Research, Makerere Medical School, Kampala, Uganda. (2010-07-09)