Examining unit costs for COVID-19 case management in Kenya

BMJ Glob Health. 2021 Apr;6(4):e004159. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004159.


Introduction: We estimated unit costs for COVID-19 case management for patients with asymptomatic, mild-to-moderate, severe and critical COVID-19 disease in Kenya.

Methods: We estimated per-day unit costs of COVID-19 case management for patients. We used a bottom-up approach to estimate full economic costs and adopted a health system perspective and patient episode of care as our time horizon. We obtained data on inputs and their quantities from data provided by three public COVID-19 treatment hospitals in Kenya and augmented this with guidelines. We obtained input prices from a recent costing survey of 20 hospitals in Kenya and from market prices for Kenya.

Results: Per-day, per-patient unit costs for asymptomatic patients and patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease under home-based care are 1993.01 Kenyan shilling (KES) (US$18.89) and 1995.17 KES (US$18.991), respectively. When these patients are managed in an isolation centre or hospital, the same unit costs for asymptomatic patients and patients with mild-to-moderate disease are 6717.74 KES (US$63.68) and 6719.90 KES (US$63.70), respectively. Per-day unit costs for patients with severe COVID-19 disease managed in general hospital wards and those with critical COVID-19 disease admitted in intensive care units are 13 137.07 KES (US$124.53) and 63 243.11 KES (US$599.51).

Conclusion: COVID-19 case management costs are substantial, ranging between two and four times the average claims value reported by Kenya's public health insurer. Kenya will need to mobilise substantial resources and explore service delivery adaptations that will reduce unit costs.

Keywords: COVID-19; health economics; health systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / economics*
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • Case Management*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Pandemics