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Cost of implementing a community-based primary health care strengthening program: The case of the Ghana Essential Health Interventions Program in northern Ghana

Edmund Wedam Kanmiki, James Akazili, Ayaga A Bawah, James F Phillips, John Koku Awoonor-Williams, Patrick Asuming (), Abraham R Oduro and Moses Aikins

PLOS ONE, 2019, vol. 14, issue 2, 1-15

Abstract: Background: The absence of implementation cost data constrains deliberations on consigning resources to community-based health programs. This paper analyses the cost of implementing strategies for accelerating the expansion of a community-based primary health care program in northern Ghana. Known as the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Program (GEHIP), the project was an embedded implementation science program implemented to provide practical guidance for accelerating the expansion of community-based primary health care and introducing improvements in the range of services community workers can provide. Methods: Cost data were systematically collected from intervention and non-intervention districts throughout the implementation period (2012–2014) from a provider perspective. The step-down allocation approach to costing was used while WHO health system blocks were adopted as cost centers. We computed cost without annualizing capital cost to represent financial cost and cost with annualizing capital cost to represent economic cost. Results: The per capita financial cost and economic cost of implementing GEHIP over a three-year period was $1.79, and $1.07 respectively. GEHIP comprised only 3.1% of total primary health care cost. Health service delivery comprised the largest component of cost (37.6%), human resources was 28.6%, medicines was 13.6%, leadership/governance was 12.8%, while health information comprised 7.5% of the economic cost of implementing GEHIP. Conclusion: The per capita cost of implementing the GEHIP program was low. GEHIP project investments had a catalytic effect that improved community-based health planning and services (CHPS) coverage and enhanced the efficient use of routine health system resources rather than expanding overall primary health care costs.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211956

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