Provider Costs for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular and Related Conditions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review

Authors: Elizabeth Brouwer, David Watkins, Zachary Olson, Jane Goett, Rachel Nugent, Carol Levin


Background: The burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD risk conditions is rapidly increasing in low- and middle-income countries, where health systems are generally ill-equipped to manage chronic disease. Policy makers need an understanding of the magnitude and drivers of the costs of cardiovascular disease related conditions to make decisions on how to allocate limited health resources.

Methods: We undertook a systematic review of the published literature on provider-incurred costs of treatment for cardiovascular diseases and risk conditions in low- and middle-income countries. Total costs of treatment were inflated to 2012 US dollars for comparability across geographic settings and time periods.

Results: This systematic review identified 60 articles and 143 unit costs for the following conditions: ischemic heart disease, non-ischemic heart diseases, stroke, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Cost data were most readily available in middle-income countries, especially China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. The most common conditions with cost studies were acute ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, stroke, and hypertension.

Conclusions: Emerging economies are currently providing a base of cost evidence for NCD treatment that may prove useful to policy-makers in low-income countries. Initial steps to publicly finance disease interventions should take account of costs. The gaps and limitations in the current literature include a lack of standardized reporting as well as sparse evidence from low-income countries.

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Brouwer, E. et al. 2015. Provider costs for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and related conditions in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. BMJ Public Health. 15: 1183.