Evaluating services for perinatal asphyxia and low birth weight at two hospitals in Ghana: a micro-costing analysis

  • Christabel C Enweronu-Laryea
  • Eric Nsiah-Boateng
  • Hilary D Andoh
  • Audrey Frimpong-Barfi
  • Francis M Asenso-Boadi
  • Moses Aikins
Keywords: perinatal asphyxia, low-birth-weight, time-driven activity-based costing, process of care


Background: Neonatal mortality has been decreasing slowly in Ghana despite investments in maternal-newborn services. Although community-based interventions are effective in reducing newborn deaths, hospital-based services provide better health outcomes.

Objective: To examine the process and cost of hospital-based services for perinatal asphyxia and low birth weight/preterm at a district and a regional level referral hospital in Ghana.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at 2 hospitals in Greater Accra Region during May-July 2016. Term infants with perinatal asphyxia and low birth weight/preterm infants referred for special care within 24hours after birth were eligible. Time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) approach was used to examine the process and cost of all activities in the full cycle of care from admission until discharge or death. Costs were analysed from health provider’s perspective.

Results: Sixty-two newborns (perinatal asphyxia 27, low-birth-weight/preterm 35) were enrolled. Cost of care was proportionately related to length-of-stay. Personnel costs constituted over 95% of direct costs, and all resources including personnel, equipment and supplies were overstretched.

Conclusion: TDABC analysis revealed gaps in the organization, process and financing of neonatal services that undermined the quality of care for hospitalized newborns. The study provides baseline cost data for future cost-effectiveness studies on neonatal services in Ghana.

Keywords: perinatal asphyxia; low-birth-weight; time-driven activity-based costing; process of care

Funding: Authors received no external funding for the study


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560