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Applying the Net-Benefit Framework for Analyzing and Presenting Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of a Maternal and Newborn Health Intervention
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012
Author: Sennen Hounton et al.

by Sennen Hounton, David Newlands


Coverage of maternal and newborn health (MNH) interventions is often influenced by important determinants and decision makers are often concerned with equity issues. The net-benefit framework developed and applied alongside clinical trials and in pharmacoeconomics offers the potential for exploring how cost-effectiveness of MNH interventions varies at the margin by important covariates as well as for handling uncertainties around the ICER estimate.


We applied the net-benefit framework to analyze cost-effectiveness of the Skilled Care Initiative and assessed relative advantages over a standard computation of incremental cost effectiveness ratios.


Household and facility surveys were carried out from January to July 2006 in Ouargaye district (where the Skilled Care Initiative was implemented) and Diapaga (comparison site) district in Burkina Faso. Pregnancy-related and perinatal mortality were retrospectively assessed and data were collected on place of delivery, education, asset ownership, place, and distance to health facilities, costs borne by households for institutional delivery, and cost of standard provision of maternal care. Descriptive and regression analyses were performed.


There was a 30% increase in institutional births in the intervention district compared to 10% increase in comparison district, and a significant reduction of perinatal mortality rates (OR 0.75, CI 0.70-0.80) in intervention district. The incremental cost for achieving one additional institutional delivery in Ouargaye district compared to Diapaga district was estimated to be 170 international dollars and varied significantly by covariates. However, the joint probability distribution (net-benefit framework) of the effectiveness measure (institutional delivery), the cost data and covariates indicated distance to health facilities as the single most important determinant of the cost-effectiveness analysis with implications for policy making.


The net-benefit framework, the application of which requires household-level effects and cost data, has proven more insightful (than traditional ICER) in presenting and interpreting cost-effectiveness results of the Skilled Care Initiative.