Background

Morbidity and mortality due to pregnancy and childbearing are high in developing countries. This study aims to estimate patient and health system costs of managing pregnancy and birth-related complications in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods

A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify costing studies published and unpublished, from January 2000 to May 2019. The search was done in Pubmed, EMBASE, Cinahl, and Web of Science databases and grey literature. The study was registered in PROSPERO with registration No. CRD42019119316. All costs were converted to 2018 US dollars using relevant Consumer Price Indices.

Results

Out of 1652 studies identified, 48 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The included studies were of moderate to high quality. Spontaneous vaginal delivery cost patients and health systems between USD 6–52 and USD 8–73, but cesarean section costs between USD 56–377 and USD 80–562, respectively. Patient and health system costs of abortion range between USD 11–66 and USD 40–298, while post-abortion care costs between USD 21–158 and USD 46–151, respectively. The patient and health system costs for managing a case of eclampsia range between USD 52–231 and USD 123–186, while for maternal hemorrhage they range between USD 65–196 and USD 30–127, respectively. Patient cost for caring low-birth weight babies ranges between USD 38–489 while the health system cost was estimated to be USD 514.

Conclusion

This is the first systematic review to compile comprehensive up-to-date patient and health system costs of managing pregnancy and birth-related complications in sub-Saharan Africa. It indicates that these costs are relatively high in this region and that patient costs were largely catastrophic relative to a 10 % of average national per capita income.

Peter Hangoma

Post Doctoral Researcher

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