Background: Epidemic meningococcal meningitis remains a serious health threat in the African meningitis belt. New meningococcal conjugate vaccines are relatively costly and their efficiency will depend on cost savings realized from no longer having to respond to epidemics.
Methods: We evaluated the cost and impacts to the public health system of the 2007 epidemic bacterial meningitis season in Burkina Faso through a survey at the different level of the health system. A micro-economic approach was used to evaluate direct medical and non medical costs for both the public health system and households, as well as indirect costs for households.
Results: The total national cost was 9.4 million US$ (0.69 US$ per capita). Health system costs were 7.1 million US$ (1.97% of annual national health spending), with 85.6% for reactive vaccination campaigns. The remaining 2.3 million US$ was borne by households of meningitis cases. The mean cost per person vaccinated was 1.45 US$; the mean cost of case management per meningitis case was 116.3 US$ when including household costs and 26.4 US$ when including only health sector costs. Meningitis epidemics disrupted all health services from national to operational levels with the main contributor being a large increase in medical consultations.
Conclusions: Preventive meningococcal conjugate vaccines should contribute to more efficient use of funds dedicated to meningitis epidemics and limit the disruption of routine health services.
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