Step-by-step guideline for disease-specific costing studies in low- and middle-income countries: a mixed methodology

Glob Health Action. 2014 Mar 28;7:23573. doi: 10.3402/gha.v7.23573. eCollection 2014.


Background: Disease-specific costing studies can be used as input into cost-effectiveness analyses and provide important information for efficient resource allocation. However, limited data availability and limited expertise constrain such studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Objective: To describe a step-by-step guideline for conducting disease-specific costing studies in LMICs where data availability is limited and to illustrate how the guideline was applied in a costing study of cardiovascular disease prevention care in rural Nigeria.

Design: The step-by-step guideline provides practical recommendations on methods and data requirements for six sequential steps: 1) definition of the study perspective, 2) characterization of the unit of analysis, 3) identification of cost items, 4) measurement of cost items, 5) valuation of cost items, and 6) uncertainty analyses.Please provide the significance of asterisk given in table body.

Results: We discuss the necessary tradeoffs between the accuracy of estimates and data availability constraints at each step and illustrate how a mixed methodology of accurate bottom-up micro-costing and more feasible approaches can be used to make optimal use of all available data. An illustrative example from Nigeria is provided.

Conclusions: An innovative, user-friendly guideline for disease-specific costing in LMICs is presented, using a mixed methodology to account for limited data availability. The illustrative example showed that the step-by-step guideline can be used by healthcare professionals in LMICs to conduct feasible and accurate disease-specific cost analyses.

Keywords: cost of illness; developing countries; economic evaluation; global health; healthcare costs; methodology; micro-costing; sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / economics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Disease / economics*
  • Health Care Costs* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Nigeria
  • Uncertainty