The cost of injury and trauma care in low- and middle-income countries: a review of economic evidence.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Injuries are a significant cause of mortality and morbidity, of which more than 90% occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Given the extent of this burden being confronted by LMICs, there is need to place injury prevention at the forefront of public health initiatives and to understand the costs associated with injury. The aim of this article is to describe the extent to which injury-related costing studies have been conducted in LMICs. METHODS A review of literature was performed to explore costing data available for injury and/or trauma care in LMICs. Study quality was described using recommendations from the Community Guide's quality assessment tool for economic evaluations. RESULTS The review identified 68 studies, of which 13 were full economic evaluations. Cost of injury varied widely with mean costs ranging from US$14 to US$17 400. In terms of injury-prevention interventions, cost per disability adjusted life year averted for injury-prevention interventions ranged from US$10.90 for speed bump installation to US$17 000 for drunk driving and breath testing campaigns in Africa. The studies varied in quality, ranging from very good to unsatisfactory. DISCUSSION There is a lack of injury-related economic evidence from LMICs. Current costing research has considerable variability in the costs and cost descriptions of injury and associated prevention interventions. The generalizability of these studies is limited. Yet the economic burden of injury is high, suggesting significant potential for cost savings through injury prevention. A standardized approach to economic evaluation of injury in LMICs is needed to further prioritize investing in injury prevention.

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