Background: Chronic Kidney Disease is a major public health problem worldwide with enormous cost burdens on health care systems in developing countries. We aimed to provide a detailed analysis of the processes and costs of haemodialysis in Sri Lanka and provide a framework for modeling similar financial audits.
Methods: This prospective study was conducted at haemodialysis units of three public and two private hospitals in Sri Lanka for two months in June and July 2010. Cost of drugs and consumables for the three public hospitals were obtained from the price list issued by the Medical Supplies Division of the Department of Health Services, while for the two private hospitals they were obtained from financial departments of the respective hospitals. Staff wages were obtained from the hospital chief accountant/chief financial officers. The cost of electricity and water per month was calculated directly with the assistance of expert engineers. An apportion was done from the total hospital costs of administration, cleaning services, security, waste disposal and, laundry and sterilization for each unit.
Results: The total number of dialysis sessions (hours) at the five hospitals for June and July were 3341 (12959) and 3386 (13301) respectively. Drug and consumables costs accounted for 70.4-84.9% of the total costs, followed by the wages of the nursing staff at each unit (7.8-19.7%). The mean cost of a dialysis session in Sri Lanka was LKR 6,377 (US$ 56). The annual cost of haemodialysis for a patient with chronic renal failure undergoing 2-3 dialysis session of four hours duration per week was LKR 663,208-994,812 (US$ 5,869-8,804). At one hospital where facilities are available for the re-use of dialyzers (although not done during study period) the cost of consumables would have come down from LKR 5,940,705 to LKR 3,368,785 (43% reduction) if the method was adopted, reducing costs of haemodialysis per hour from LKR 1,327 at present to LKR 892 (33% reduction).
Conclusions: This multi-centered study demonstrated that the costs of haemodialysis in a developing country remained significantly lower compared to developed countries. However, it still places a significant burden on the health care sector, whilst possibility of further cost reduction exists.