Estimating the cost and efficiency gain of rolling out a multi-month dispensing programme for antiretroviral treatment in Tanzania
Background: Globally, efforts to curtail the HIV pandemic are growing. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and partners set the 95-95-95 targets to be achieved by 2025. Tanzania’s ongoing transition from single-month ARV to longer multi-month dispensing (MMD) involves significant planning and shifts in existing resources, including health commodities, clinical staff and storage space. This study aimed at evaluating the costs and efficiency gains of rolling out MMD compared to the prior monthly dispending (MD) standard of care before the new guidelines.
Methods: The analysis employed a health provider perspective utilising prior costing data collected to estimate cost of treatment for HIV/AIDS, including salaries, laboratory costs, antiretroviral drugs, other supplies and overhead costs. The projections were run from 2018 to 2030 using the Spectrum package for Tanzania.
Results: Our model estimated that total treatment cost without MMD (including salaries, laboratory costs, antiretroviral drugs, other supplies, and overhead costs) is estimated to rise from USD 189 million in 2018 to USD 244 million in 2030. The introduction of a six-month MMD would lead to the total annual facility-based treatment costs being reduced to USD 205 million in 2030. When comparing MD to a six-month MMD, the total savings over the 13-year period would be USD 425 million. The introduction of six-month MMD for stable patients would reduce the average cost from USD 180 to USD 156 per patient per year if stable patients were only required to make six-monthly visit.
Conclusions: The introduction of differentiated service delivery models (DSDMs) and MMD is already contributing to significant cost savings for Tanzania and will continue to do so as the country puts more stable patients on MMD. The potential gains from MMD implantation could further be harnessed if retention of treatment and viral suppression monitoring are prioritised.