Cost-effectiveness and economies of scale of a mass radio campaign to promote household life-saving practices in Burkina Faso

BMJ Glob Health. 2018 Jul 16;3(4):e000809. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000809. eCollection 2018.


Introduction: Child health promotion through mass media has not been rigorously evaluated for cost-effectiveness in low-income and middle-income countries. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of a mass radio campaign on health-seeking behaviours for child survival within a trial in Burkina Faso and at national scale.

Methods: We collected provider cost data prospectively alongside a 35-month cluster randomised trial in rural Burkina Faso in 2012-2015. Out-of-pocket costs of care-seeking were estimated through a household survey. We modelled intervention effects on child survival based on increased care-seeking and estimated the intervention's incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in terms of the cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted versus current practice. Model uncertainty was gauged using one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. We projected the ICER of national-scale implementation in five sub-Saharan countries with differing media structures. All costs are in 2015 USD.

Results: The provider cost of the campaign was $7 749 128 ($9 146 101 including household costs). The campaign broadcast radio spots 74 480 times and 4610 2-hour shows through seven local radio stations, reaching approximately 2.4 million people including 620 000 direct beneficiaries (pregnant women and children under five). It resulted in an average estimated 24% increase in care-seeking for children under five and a 7% reduction in child mortality per year. The ICER was estimated at $94 ($111 including household costs (95% CI -38 to 320)). The projected provider cost per DALY averted of a national level campaign in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique and Niger in 2018-2020, varied between $7 in Malawi to $27 in Burundi.

Conclusion: This study suggests that mass-media campaigns can be very cost-effective in improving child survival in areas with high media penetration and can potentially benefit from considerable economies of scale.

Trial registration number: NCT01517230; Results.

Keywords: child health; cluster randomized trial; health economics; health education and promotion.

Associated data