As countries progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), they frequently develop explicit packages of health services compatible with UHC goals. As part of the Disease Control Initiative 3 Country Translation project, a systematic survey instrument was developed and used to review the experience of five low-income and lower-middle-income countries—Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan—in estimating the cost of their proposed packages. The paper highlights the main results of the survey, providing information about how costing exercises were conducted and used and what country teams perceived to be the main challenges. Key messages are identified to facilitate similar exercises and improve their usefulness. Critical challenges to be addressed include inconsistent application of costing methods, measurement errors and data reliability issues, the lack of adequate capacity building, and the lack of integration between costing and budgeting. The paper formulates four recommendations to address these challenges: (1) developing more systematic guidance and standard ways to implement costing methodologies, particularly regarding the treatment of health systems-related common costs, (2) acknowledging ranges of uncertainty of costing results and integrating sensitivity analysis, (3) building long-term capacity at the local level and institutionalising the costing process in order to improve both reliability and policy relevance, and (4) closely linking costing exercises to public budgeting.
Gaudin S, Raza W, Skordis J, Soucat A, Stenberg K, Alwan A. Using costing to facilitate policy making towards Universal Health Coverage: findings and recommendations from country-level experiences. BMJ Glob Health. 2023 Jan;8(Suppl 1):e010735. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2022-010735.