Estimating the cost to rural ambulating HIV/AIDS patients on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) in rural Ghana: a pilot study

  • Stephen Apanga
  • Damien Punguyire
  • George Adjei


Background: Subsidized antiretroviral therapy programs obviously lowers the cost of antiretroviral drugs but other major costs are still incurred, which makes the overall cost of accessing and consuming antiretroviral treatment very high and sometimes catastrophic. The objective of this study was to estimate the total cost to rural ambulating HIV/AIDS patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy in a rural area of the middle belt of Ghana. Methods: This was a convenient cross-sectional study of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS receiving outpatient care and carried out from September to October 2009 involving 80 HIV/AIDS patients on HAART. Data was derived from patients’ medical records on health care utilization and a completed pre tested questionnaire used to obtain the cost of transportation and estimates of individual earned income from which the labor productivity loses (opportunity cost) for days not worked as a result of attending the antiretroviral clinic were derived. Results: The median total, indirect and direct annual costs to rural ambulating HIV/AIDS patients on HAART were estimated to be $US71.18 (115.16 Ghana cedis), $US2.740 (3.92 Ghana cedis) and $US53.04 (75.00 Ghana cedis) respectively. Conclusion: Although the cost of antiretroviral drugs has been subsidized by government from $360 to $41.38 per annum, HIV/AIDS patients on HAART spend double of this subsidized amount out of their pocket seeking health care. We recommend that agencies associated with HIV/AIDS activities, supplements government’s effort by helping to get antiretroviral closer to the door step of patients so as to reduce this huge financial burden which constitutes more than 100% of their median annual earned income.

Pan African Medical Journal 2012; 12:21

Author Biographies

Stephen Apanga
School of Public Health University of Ghana, Ghana; Kintampo Municipal Hospital Kintampo, Ghana
Damien Punguyire
Kintampo Municipal Hospital Kintampo, Ghana
George Adjei
Kintampo Health Research Centre Kintampo, Ghana

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1937-8688