The cost-effectiveness of a program to reduce intrapartum and neonatal mortality in a referral hospital in Ghana

PLoS One. 2020 Nov 13;15(11):e0242170. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242170. eCollection 2020.


Objective: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a program intended to reduce intrapartum and neonatal mortality in Accra, Ghana.

Design: Quasi-experimental, time-sequence intervention, retrospective cost-effectiveness analysis.

Methods: A program integrating leadership development, clinical skills and quality improvement training was piloted at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital from 2013 to 2016. The number of intrapartum and neonatal deaths prevented were estimated using the hospital's 2012 stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates as a steady-state assumption. The cost-effectiveness of the intervention was calculated as cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted. In order to test the assumptions included in this analysis, it was subjected to probabilistic and one-way sensitivity analyses.

Main outcome measures: Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), which measures the cost per disability-adjusted life-year averted by the intervention compared to status quo.

Results: From 2012 to 2016, there were 45,495 births at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, of whom 5,734 were admitted to the newborn intensive care unit. The budget for the systems strengthening program was US $1,716,976. Based on program estimates, 307 (±82) neonatal deaths and 84 (±35) stillbirths were prevented, amounting to 12,342 DALYs averted. The systems strengthening intervention was found to be highly cost effective with an ICER of US $139 (±$44), an amount significantly lower than the established threshold of cost-effectiveness of the per capita gross domestic product, which averaged US $1,649 between 2012-2016. The results were found to be sensitive to the following parameters: DALYs averted, number of neonatal deaths, and number of stillbirths.

Conclusion: An integrated approach to system strengthening in referral hospitals has the potential to reduce neonatal and intrapartum mortality in low resource settings and is likely to be cost-effective. Sustained change can be achieved by building organizational capacity through leadership and clinical training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Ghana
  • Health Plan Implementation / economics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Quality Improvement / economics*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Tertiary Care Centers / economics
  • Tertiary Care Centers / standards
  • Tertiary Care Centers / statistics & numerical data

Grants and funding

This work was part of the ‘Making Every Baby Count Initiative’ awarded to PATH by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Kybele received a subaward (CIF.1838-01-705622-SUB) to improve maternal and newborn care capacity in regional hospitals in Ghana. RR, ES and MO were funded through this award. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.