Providing universal access to modern contraceptive methods: An extended cost-effectiveness analysis of meeting the demand for modern contraception in Ethiopia

Soc Sci Med. 2021 Jul:281:114076. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114076. Epub 2021 May 25.


Despite recent advances in access to and use of modern contraception in Ethiopia, further improvement is needed, particularly among poorer women. This extended cost-effectiveness analysis investigated the health outcomes, their distribution, and financial risk protection associated with meeting the demand for modern contraception for all Ethiopian women. We developed five Markov models with wealth quintile-specific input data to investigate the effects of meeting this demand and followed a hypothetical cohort of 1,252,000 women through their reproductive lives from ages 15-49 years. The health outcomes are reported in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained and in intermediate health outcomes, such as the total number of induced abortions, unintended pregnancies, and pregnancy-related deaths averted. The economic effect of meeting the demand for modern contraception was assessed by estimating the financial risk protection benefits in terms of averted out-of-pocket payments and the reduction in the number of cases of catastrophic health expenditure by quintile. Meeting the demand for modern contraception was deemed highly cost effective, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $96.60/QALY gained per woman. A total of 676,300 QALYs were gained, and approximately 1,900,000 unintended pregnancies, 250,000 induced abortions, and 9000 pregnancy-related deaths were averted over the 35-year period. Most of these gains were achieved among low-income groups. When the demand for modern contraception was met, almost 40,000 cases of catastrophic health expenditure were averted in the poorest quintile. The total governmental cost was higher in all quintiles when the demand for modern contraception was met compared to the baseline scenario, with the largest percentage increase in governmental spending in the poorest quintiles. Meeting the demand for modern contraception fulfills the priority-setting criteria established by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and makes the Ethiopian health care system more equitable.

Keywords: Economic evaluation; Equity; Ethiopia; Extended cost-effectiveness analysis; Family planning; Modern contraceptive methods; Reproductive health; Universal health coverage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception*
  • Contraceptive Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Ethiopia
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents