Cost savings through implementation of an integrated home-based record: a case study in Vietnam

Public Health. 2018 Mar;156:124-131. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2017.12.018. Epub 2018 Feb 20.


Objectives: In Vietnam, there are three major home-based records (HBRs) for maternal and child health (MCH) that have been already nationally scaled up, i.e., Maternal and Child Health Handbook (MCH Handbook), Child Vaccination Handbook, and Child Growth Monitoring Chart. The MCH Handbook covers all the essential recording items that are included in the other two. This overlapping of recording items between the HBRs is likely to result in inefficient use of both financial and human resources. This study is aimed at estimating the magnitude of cost savings that are expected to be realized through implementing exclusively the MCH Handbook by terminating the other two.

Study design: Secondary data collection and analyses on HBR production and distribution costs and health workers' opportunity costs.

Methods: Through multiplying the unit costs by their respective quantity multipliers, recurrent costs of operations of three HBRs were estimated. Moreover, magnitude of cost savings likely to be realized was estimated, by calculating recurrent costs overlapping between the three HBRs.

Results: It was estimated that implementing exclusively the MCH Handbook would lead to cost savings of United States dollar 3.01 million per annum. The amount estimated is minimum cost savings because only recurrent cost elements (HBR production and distribution costs and health workers' opportunity costs) were incorporated into the estimation. Further indirect cost savings could be expected through reductions in health expenditures, as the use of the MCH Handbook would contribute to prevention of maternal and child illnesses by increasing antenatal care visits and breastfeeding practices.

Conclusion: To avoid wasting financial and human resources, the MCH Handbook should be exclusively implemented by abolishing the other two HBRs. This study is globally an initial attempt to estimate cost savings to be realized through avoiding overlapping operations between multiple HBRs for MCH.

Keywords: Cost saving; Home-based records; Maternal; Maternal and child health handbook; Newborn and child health.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost Savings / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / economics*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Health Records, Personal*
  • Home Care Services / economics*
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal-Child Health Services / economics*
  • Maternal-Child Health Services / organization & administration
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Pregnancy
  • Vietnam