African Journal of Neurological Sciences

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The cost of treating stroke in urban and rural Tanzania: a 6-month pilot study

Gregory S. Kabadi, Richard Walker, Cam Donaldson, Phil Shackley


Background: Economic evaluations have significant roles in informing funding decisions. They provide the means to choose which programme of care to fund among the many competing for resources. Unlike in higher-income countries, published studies on economic evaluations of stroke in Sub-Saharan Africa are rare.

Objective: To pilot a method for estimating the cost of treating stroke in rural and urban Tanzania that will assist with future economic evaluations of stroke.

Methods: The pilot study was conducted as part of the Tanzania Stroke Incidence Study. Incident cases were reported by resident community informants. Cost data were summarised from project documents and data on out-ofpocket payments were collected by interviewing patients/carers. Productivity losses relating to post-stroke occupations were also estimated in monetary terms using standard monthly salary estimates by job category and gender.

Results: Sixteen incident cases (11 rural and 5 urban) were identified and followed-up for six monthsin 2005/2006. The overall mean cost per case was TZS 256,338 (USD 220) and included diagnostic tests (blood, ECG, echocardiogram, chest X-ray, CT scans), hospitalisation cost (registration, inpatient stay and drugs), transport cost to designated hospitals, physiotherapy and out-of-pocket payments to other points of care. Costs were more than four-fold higher in the urban district than in the rural district. Mean productivity loss per patient was TZS 247,930 (USD 213) and was more than double in the urban district than in the rural district.

Conclusion: This is the first published research investigating the cost of treating stroke in Tanzania. A bigger sample, long-term follow up and modeling are required for better estimates of stroke economic burden.

Keywords: Cost analysis, Stroke, Tanzania, Sub-Saharan Africa, Populations Rural/Urban

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