Articles tagged as "Close the resource gap"

Disease-specific Global Fund grants may be preventing the realisation of system-wide synergies for increased human resources for health

Global Fund investments in human resources for health: innovation and missed opportunities for health systems strengthening.

Bowser D, Sparkes SP, Mitchell A, Bossert TJ, Bärnighausen T, Gedik G, Atun R. Health Policy Plan. 2014 Dec;29(8):986-97. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czt080. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

Background: Since the early 2000s, there have been large increases in donor financing of human resources for health (HRH), yet few studies have examined their effects on health systems.

Objective: To determine the scope and impact of investments in HRH by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), the largest investor in HRH outside national governments.

Methods: We used mixed research methodology to analyse budget allocations and expenditures for HRH, including training, for 138 countries receiving money from the Global Fund during funding rounds 1-7. From these aggregate figures, we then identified 27 countries with the largest funding for human resources and training and examined all HRH-related performance indicators tracked in Global Fund grant reports. We used the results of these quantitative analyses to select six countries with substantial funding and varied characteristics-representing different regions and income levels for further in-depth study: Bangladesh (South and West Asia, low income), Ethiopia (Eastern Africa, low income), Honduras (Latin America, lower-middle income), Indonesia (South and West Asia, lower-middle income), Malawi (Southern Africa, low income) and Ukraine (Eastern Europe and Central Asia, upper-middle income). We used qualitative methods to gather information in each of the six countries through 159 interviews with key informants from 83 organizations. Using comparative case-study analysis, we examined Global Fund's interactions with other donors, as well as its HRH support and co-ordination within national health systems.

Results: Around US$1.4 billion (23% of total US$5.1 billion) of grant funding was allocated to HRH by the 138 Global Fund recipient countries. In funding rounds 1-7, the six countries we studied in detail were awarded a total of 47 grants amounting to US$1.2 billion and HRH budgets of US$276 million, of which approximately half were invested in disease-focused in-service and short-term training activities. Countries employed a variety of mechanisms including salary top-ups, performance incentives, extra compensation and contracting of workers for part-time work, to pay health workers using Global Fund financing. Global Fund support for training and salary support was not co-ordinated with national strategic plans and there were major deficiencies in the data collected by the Global Fund to track HRH financing and to provide meaningful assessments of health system performance.

Conclusion: The narrow disease focus and lack of co-ordination with national governments call into question the efficiency of funding and sustainability of Global Fund investments in HRH and their effectiveness in strengthening recipient countries' health systems. The lessons that emerge from this analysis can be used by both the Global Fund and other donors to improve co-ordination of investments and the effectiveness of programmes in recipient countries.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: This study describes Global Fund’s budget allocations, expenditures and specific activities on human resources for health (HRH) from 2002 to 2010. The authors were particularly interested in exploring whether and how these investments contributed to health system strengthening through a more detailed qualitative analysis of six geographically and programmatically different countries.  

They find that the 27 countries with the largest budgeted HRH expenditures allocated some 29.6% to HRH, and had a ratio of 1.35 health workers trained in comparison to the total national health workforce, suggesting duplication of training activities and programme inefficiency. This reflects the confirmed lack of coordination with national HRH training programmes that the authors documented, particularly in Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Malawi. In terms of coordinating HRH salary support and financing plans, only Honduras and Malawi had developed plans for absorbing some of the health workers that were being covered by Global Fund grants. In other countries, the top-ups and monetary compensation/ incentives funded through Global Fund grants to increase retention and motivation, were considered short-term and would not be sustained. Of the six country case studies, it is only in Malawi that the Global Fund coordinated its efforts with the national HRH strategy and other donor programmes.

The study highlights the need for a paradigm shift away from disease-focused grants to co-investments in HIV, tuberculosis and malaria that would allow the realisation of remarkable synergies and efficiency gains.

Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America
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Facility-level costs for antiretroviral therapy are much lower than previously understood

Multi-country analysis of treatment costs for HIV/AIDS (MATCH): facility-level ART unit cost analysis in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia.

Tagar E, Sundaram M, Condliffe K, Matatiyo B, Chimbwandira F, Chilima B, Mwanamanga R, Moyo C, Chitah BM, Nyemazi JP, Assefa Y, Pillay Y, Mayer S, Shear L, Dain M, Hurley R, Kumar R, McCarthy T, Batra P, Gwinnell D, Diamond S, Over M. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e108304. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108304. eCollection 2014.

Background: Today's uncertain HIV funding landscape threatens to slow progress towards treatment goals. Understanding the costs of antiretroviral therapy (ART) will be essential for governments to make informed policy decisions about the pace of scale-up under the 2013 WHO HIV Treatment Guidelines, which increase the number of people eligible for treatment from 17.6 million to 28.6 million. The study presented here is one of the largest of its kind and the first to describe the facility-level cost of ART in a random sample of facilities in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia.

Methods & Findings: In 2010-2011, comprehensive data on one year of facility-level ART costs and patient outcomes were collected from 161 facilities, selected using stratified random sampling. Overall, facility-level ART costs were significantly lower than expected in four of the five countries, with a simple average of $208 per patient-year (ppy) across Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. Costs were higher in South Africa, at $682 ppy. This included medications, laboratory services, direct and indirect personnel, patient support, equipment and administrative services. Facilities demonstrated the ability to retain patients alive and on treatment at these costs, although outcomes for established patients (2-8% annual loss to follow-up or death) were better than outcomes for new patients in their first year of ART (77-95% alive and on treatment).

Conclusions: This study illustrated that the facility-level costs of ART are lower than previously understood in these five countries. While limitations must be considered, and costs will vary across countries, this suggests that expanded treatment coverage may be affordable. Further research is needed to understand investment costs of treatment scale-up, non-facility costs and opportunities for more efficient resource allocation.

Abstract Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: This paper describes the facility-level costs for antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery in 161 facilities across five countries. The scale of this study is impressive. At 161 facilities, it is one of the largest existing evaluations of facility-level costs for delivering ART. Collecting detailed cost data is a time- and resource-intensive process, and there is remarkable value in this quantity of cost data being made available.

The results are also surprising. The average cost for ART at the facility level in four of five countries ($208 per person per year) is consistently much lower than previously understood. Primary costing studies in low- and middle-income settings typically find some level of inconsistency between facilities, reflecting room to improve efficiency. This study found more variation in South Africa than in other settings, but relatively little variation overall. It would be interesting to find out in more detail whether this was a function of missing data, or whether the facilities included in the analysis were consistently efficient. If the latter, this may be an indication of improving efficiency in delivery of HIV treatment services.

The most exciting outcome from this study is the low costs found across settings. A number of existing studies of ART costs, all published between 2004-2008, find average facility costs ranging from $650 to $1000 per person, per year. The authors explain their lower costs as a reflection of reduced ART drug prices over the last ten years. Such a dramatic drop in costs is encouraging, particularly in the context of current efforts to expand access to ART.

Africa
Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia
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Targeted HIV prevention is extremely cost-effective at scale

Cost-effectiveness of HIV prevention for high-risk groups at scale: an economic evaluation of the Avahan programme in south India.

Vassall A, Pickles M, Chandrashekar S, Boily MC, Shetty G, Guinness L, Lowndes CM, Bradley J, Moses S, Alary M, Charme India G, Vickerman P. Lancet Glob Health. 2014 Sep;2(9):e531-40. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(14)70277-3. Epub 2014 Aug 27.

Background: Avahan is a large-scale, HIV preventive intervention, targeting high-risk populations in south India. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of Avahan to inform global and national funding institutions who are considering investing in worldwide HIV prevention in concentrated epidemics.

Methods: We estimated cost effectiveness from a programme perspective in 22 districts in four high-prevalence states. We used the UNAIDS Costing Guidelines for HIV Prevention Strategies as the basis for our costing method, and calculated effect estimates using a dynamic transmission model of HIV and sexually transmitted disease transmission that was parameterised and fitted to locally observed behavioural and prevalence trends. We calculated incremental cost-effective ratios (ICERs), comparing the incremental cost of Avahan per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted versus a no-Avahan counterfactual scenario. We also estimated incremental cost per HIV infection averted and incremental cost per person reached.

Findings: Avahan reached roughly 150 000 high-risk individuals between 2004 and 2008 in the 22 districts studied, at a mean cost per person reached of US$327 during the 4 years. This reach resulted in an estimated 61 000 HIV infections averted, with roughly 11 000 HIV infections averted in the general population, at a mean incremental cost per HIV infection averted of $785 (SD 166). We estimate that roughly 1 million DALYs were averted across the 22 districts, at a mean incremental cost per DALY averted of $46 (SD 10). Future antiretroviral treatment (ART) cost savings during the lifetime of the cohort exposed to HIV prevention were estimated to be more than $77 million (compared with the slightly more than $50 million spent on Avahan in the 22 districts during the 4 years of the study).

Interpretation: This study provides evidence that the investment in targeted HIV prevention programmes in south India has been cost effective, and is likely to be cost saving if a commitment is made to provide ART to all that can benefit from it. Policy makers should consider funding and sustaining large-scale targeted HIV prevention programmes in India and beyond.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: This study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of Avahan, one of the largest targeted HIV prevention programmes in the world. The authors find that prevention activities targeted to high-risk populations is extremely cost-effective, and likely to be cost-saving in the long run. Although there have been previous studies to the same effect on small projects or pilot programmes, these results are important for several reasons. First, the large scale of the study provides solid evidence on the cost-effectiveness of this activity in the real world, and at scale. Second, the inclusion of costs above the NGO level is unique, and reflects a vital investment for countries seeking to scale up HIV prevention activities. Further, the precision of estimates due to the comprehensive original data collection and fitting of the model is unparalleled. This study should encourage confidence in policy makers of the continuing strength of ‘prevention as prevention’ in the effort to stem the HIV epidemic in the context of scarce resources for HIV programmes. 

Asia
India
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Socioeconomic inequalities in access to HIV care in European countries with universal healthcare systems

Delayed HIV diagnosis and initiation of antiretroviral therapy: inequalities by educational level, COHERE in EuroCoord.

Socio-economic Inequalities and HIV Writing Group for Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research in Europe (COHERE) in EuroCoord. AIDS. 2014 Sep 24;28(15):2297-306. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000410.

Objectives: In Europe and elsewhere, health inequalities among HIV-positive individuals are of concern. We investigated late HIV diagnosis and late initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) by educational level, a proxy of socioeconomic position.

Design and Methods: We used data from nine HIV cohorts within COHERE in Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, collecting data on level of education in categories of the UNESCO/International Standard Classification of Education standard classification: non-completed basic, basic, secondary and tertiary education. We included individuals diagnosed with HIV between 1996 and 2011, aged at least 16 years, with known educational level and at least one CD4 cell count within 6 months of HIV diagnosis. We examined trends by education level in presentation with advanced HIV disease (AHD) (CD4 <200 cells/µl or AIDS within 6 months) using logistic regression, and distribution of CD4 cell count at cART initiation overall and among presenters without AHD using median regression.

Results: Among 15 414 individuals, 52, 45, 37, and 31% with uncompleted basic, basic, secondary and tertiary education, respectively, presented with AHD (P trend <0.001). Compared to patients with tertiary education, adjusted odds ratios of AHD were 1.72 (95% confidence interval 1.48-2.00) for uncompleted basic, 1.39 (1.24-1.56) for basic and 1.20 (1.08-1.34) for secondary education (P < 0.001). In unadjusted and adjusted analyses, median CD4 cell count at cART initiation was lower with poorer educational level.

Conclusions: Socioeconomic inequalities in delayed HIV diagnosis and initiation of cART are present in European countries with universal healthcare systems and individuals with lower educational level do not equally benefit from timely cART initiation.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: COHERE in EuroCoord is a collaboration of 35 observational cohorts covering 32 European countries. The present study uses data from nine cohorts in six countries which collected data on educational achievement. Health inequalities are a growing concern in resource rich settings and this study confirms that even in Europe in the era of wide antiretroviral therapy (ART) use, individuals with lower educational attainment were more likely to present with advanced HIV disease. The association was stronger in men. This is possibly due to earlier diagnosis in women attending antenatal services who benefit from universal offer of HIV testing for prevention of mother-to-child transmission. People who were less educated were also more likely to initiate ART at a lower CD4 count. Interestingly, this latter association was seen even when analyses were restricted to individuals who were diagnosed early. This suggests lower education and by proxy socioeconomic status, is a further and specific barrier to ART initiation, even amongst individuals diagnosed in a timely fashion. The authors conclude that their findings suggest policies and activities that target socioeconomic determinants leading to delays in HIV diagnosis and combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) initiation are needed.

Health care delivery
Europe
Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland
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Investing in the education of the children of parents on antiretroviral therapy may be an efficient way to retain people in care

Cost-effectiveness of socioeconomic support as part of HIV care for the poor in an urban community-based antiretroviral program in Uganda.

Stella-Talisuna A, Bilcke J, Colebunders R, Beutels P. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2014 Oct 1;67(2):e76-83. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000280.

Background: Socioeconomic support reduced nonretention in a community-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) program in Uganda. However, resource implications of expanding socioeconomic support are large, and cost-effectiveness analysis can inform budget priorities. We compared the incremental benefits and costs of providing education, food, or both forms of support (dual support) with existing ART services from a health care provider's perspective.

Methods: Costs and outcome data were collected from a cohort of 2371 adult patients with HIV receiving education, food, or dual support from Reach Out Mbuya between 2004 and 2010. The primary outcome was averted loss to follow-up. The number of follow-up days was calculated for each patient along with accrued service and fixed program costs for the alternative forms of socioeconomic support in USD by standard costing methods. The socioeconomic support types were compared incrementally over the study period.

Results: After 7 years, 762 (33%) of the patients were loss to follow-up with 42% of them receiving food. In the presence of providing ART, education support was less costly and more effective than the alternatives. The average unit cost for education, food, and dual support were $237, $538, and $776, respectively. The average total annual costs were $88 643 for education, $538 005 for food, and $103 045 for dual support.

Conclusions: Compared with food or dual support, investing in education of the children of ART patients is less costly and more effective in improving patient retention. Reach Out Mbuya should embrace this paradigm shift and channel its resources more efficiently and effectively by focusing on education support.

Abstract access 

Editor’s notes: The importance of socioeconomic factors for the initiation and retention of people in antiretroviral therapy (ART) is increasingly recognised. Programmes are adopting various approaches to improve retention. This study considers the technical efficiency of socioeconomic support provided in an NGO, Reach Out Mbuya’s, ART programme in Uganda over a significant period of time (2004-2010). It estimates the costs of food support for food-insecure ART individuals and their households, education support for the children of people on ART, and dual support. By comparing these costs to the number of cases of loss-to-follow-up averted by each support package, it analyses which support would be most cost-efficient. This is a useful starting point when considering what socioeconomic support to provide ART individuals, and specifically what would be most affordable. The study does not adjust for the different patient mix in the different programme categories, making it difficult to compare their outcomes. Indeed, it is highly likely that the people receiving food and dual support were also the most vulnerable and the most likely to be lost to follow-up. Nonetheless, the high costs estimated for direct food support raise concerns for programme scale up and sustainability. This suggests that education support may be better value for money from the perspective of retention in ART care. The potential spill-over benefits for household economic well-being, child survival and school attendance were not captured and may improve the economic case for food support, as a broader development programme with multiple objectives.

Africa
Uganda
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Tensions between the role of motherhood and the role of sex worker

'If you have children, you have responsibilities': motherhood, sex work and HIV in southern Tanzania.

Beckham SW, Shembilu CR, Winch PJ, Beyrer C, Kerrigan DL. Cult Health Sex. 2014 Oct 1:1-15. [Epub ahead of print]

Many female sex workers begin sex work as mothers, or because they are mothers, and others seek childbearing. Motherhood may influence women's livelihoods as sex workers and their subsequent HIV risks. We used qualitative research methods (30 in-depth interviews and three focus group discussions) and employed Connell's theory of Gender and Power to explore the intersections between motherhood, sex work, and HIV-related risk. Participants were adult women who self-reported exchanging sex for money within the past month and worked in entertainment venues in southern Tanzania. Participants had two children on average, and two-thirds had children at home. Women situated their socially stigmatised work within their respectable identities as mothers caring for their children. Being mothers affected sex workers' negotiating power in complex manners, which led to both reported increases in HIV-related risk behaviours (accepting more clients, accepting more money for no condom, anal sex), and decreases in risk behaviours (using condoms, demanding condom use, testing for HIV). Sex workers/mothers were aware of risks at work, but with children to support, their choices were constrained. Future policies and programming should consider sex workers' financial and practical needs as mothers, including those related to their children such as school fees and childcare.

Abstract access 

 Editor’s notes: This important research sought to understand how sex workers negotiate this identity alongside their identity as mothers. Sex workers in sub-Saharan Africa have a greater risk of acquiring HIV than the general population. Many of these women are mothers. The authors conducted qualitative research with sex workers in southern Tanzania and using Cornell’s theory of Gender and Power as a theoretical frame, explored the intersections between motherhood, sex work and HIV related risk behaviours. This theory outlines four structures of gender: labour, power, emotional, and symbolic relations. Their analysis revealed three key themes. These included motherhood/respectability versus sex work/stigma; for the children; and motherhood/power, and HIV risk. The first theme highlights how for these women that motherhood denotes respect in contrast to the stigma evoked by sex work. Thus women often emphasised their role as mothers over that as sex workers. The second theme emphasised that for these women the ideal mother has the financial support of a husband and their role is to care for their children. However, as many of these women were unable to rely on partners, sex work enabled them to care for their children and ensure their well-being. The third theme, revealed a contradiction. Being a mother could either empower their role as a sex worker, drawing on this respectability and enabling them to negotiate higher payments from clients; or seeking higher payments for risky sexual acts such as anal sex or sex without a condom to ensure the well-being of their children. The authors conclude that in relation to Cornell’s theory these women are compromised in terms of labour both as mothers and as stigmatised sex workers and this is also related to lack of power in both of these areas. In emotional relations, women’s bond with their children is highly important and drove their need to earn money through sex work. Further, in terms of symbolic relations women used the role of motherhood to ensure their dignity and respect.

Africa
United Republic of Tanzania
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Counting and classifying global deaths

Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.

Murray CJ, Ortblad KF, Guinovart C, et al. Lancet. 2014 Sep 13;384(9947):1005-70. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60844-8. Epub 2014 Jul 22.

Background: The Millennium Declaration in 2000 brought special global attention to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria through the formulation of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6. The Global Burden of Disease 2013 study provides a consistent and comprehensive approach to disease estimation for between 1990 and 2013, and an opportunity to assess whether accelerated progress has occurred since the Millennium Declaration.

Methods: To estimate incidence and mortality for HIV, we used the UNAIDS Spectrum model appropriately modified based on a systematic review of available studies of mortality with and without antiretroviral therapy (ART). For concentrated epidemics, we calibrated Spectrum models to fit vital registration data corrected for misclassification of HIV deaths. In generalised epidemics, we minimised a loss function to select epidemic curves most consistent with prevalence data and demographic data for all-cause mortality. We analysed counterfactual scenarios for HIV to assess years of life saved through prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and ART. For tuberculosis, we analysed vital registration and verbal autopsy data to estimate mortality using cause of death ensemble modelling. We analysed data for corrected case-notifications, expert opinions on the case-detection rate, prevalence surveys, and estimated cause-specific mortality using Bayesian meta-regression to generate consistent trends in all parameters. We analysed malaria mortality and incidence using an updated cause of death database, a systematic analysis of verbal autopsy validation studies for malaria, and recent studies (2010-13) of incidence, drug resistance, and coverage of insecticide-treated bednets.

Findings: Globally in 2013, there were 1.8 million new HIV infections (95% uncertainty interval 1.7 million to 2.1 million), 29.2 million prevalent HIV cases (28.1 to 31.7), and 1.3 million HIV deaths (1.3 to 1.5). At the peak of the epidemic in 2005, HIV caused 1.7 million deaths (1.6 million to 1.9 million). Concentrated epidemics in Latin America and eastern Europe are substantially smaller than previously estimated. Through interventions including PMTCT and ART, 19.1 million life-years (16.6 million to 21.5 million) have been saved, 70.3% (65.4 to 76.1) in developing countries. From 2000 to 2011, the ratio of development assistance for health for HIV to years of life saved through intervention was US$ 4498 in developing countries. Including in HIV-positive individuals, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7.5 million (7.4 million to 7.7 million), prevalence was 11.9 million (11.6 million to 12.2 million), and number of deaths was 1.4 million (1.3 million to 1.5 million) in 2013. In the same year and in only individuals who were HIV-negative, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7.1 million (6.9 million to 7.3 million), prevalence was 11.2 million (10.8 million to 11.6 million), and number of deaths was 1.3 million (1.2 million to 1.4 million). Annualised rates of change (ARC) for incidence, prevalence, and death became negative after 2000. Tuberculosis in HIV-negative individuals disproportionately occurs in men and boys (versus women and girls); 64.0% of cases (63.6 to 64.3) and 64.7% of deaths (60.8 to 70.3). Globally, malaria cases and deaths grew rapidly from 1990 reaching a peak of 232 million cases (143 million to 387 million) in 2003 and 1.2 million deaths (1.1 million to 1.4 million) in 2004. Since 2004, child deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have decreased by 31.5% (15.7 to 44.1). Outside of Africa, malaria mortality has been steadily decreasing since 1990.

Interpretation: Our estimates of the number of people living with HIV are 18.7% smaller than UNAIDS's estimates in 2012. The number of people living with malaria is larger than estimated by WHO. The number of people living with HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria have all decreased since 2000. At the global level, upward trends for malaria and HIV deaths have been reversed and declines in tuberculosis deaths have accelerated. 101 countries (74 of which are developing) still have increasing HIV incidence. Substantial progress since the Millennium Declaration is an encouraging sign of the effect of global action.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study uses standard methods to compare and track over time national distributions of deaths by cause, and the prevalence of disease and disability.  This detailed report focuses on HIV, TB and Malaria. It presents regional summaries of incidence, prevalence and mortality rates, and national estimates of the number of male and female deaths and new infections. Point estimates are shown for 2013, and annualised rates of change for 1990-2000 and 2000-2013. These highlight the contrasting trends in disease impact before and after the formulation of the Millennium Development Goal to combat these diseases.  The global peak of HIV mortality occurred in 2005, but regional annualised rates of change for 2000-2013 indicate that HIV deaths are still increasing significantly in east Asia, southern Africa, and most rapidly in eastern Europe.

The GBD 2013 global estimates of new infections and deaths agree closely with the corresponding estimates made by UNAIDS. But there are significant differences in the respective estimates of the number of people currently living with HIV (UNAIDS estimates are some 18% higher), and historical trends in AIDS deaths, with UNAIDS judging that the recent fall has been steeper. These differences are attributed primarily to methods used in the GBD study to ensure that the sum of deaths from specific causes fits the estimated all cause total, and to varying assumptions about historical survival patterns following HIV infection. 

It may be worthwhile to look at a comment by Michel Sidibé, Mark Dybul, and Deborah Birx in the Lancet on MDG 6 and beyond: from halting and reversing AIDS to ending the epidemic which refers to this study.

Epidemiology
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory, Occupied, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe
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Do not ignore higher level costs - only 35% of programme costs for service delivery in Indian HIV prevention programmes

The costs of scaling up HIV prevention for high risk groups: lessons learned from the Avahan programme in India.

Chandrashekar S, Guinness L, Pickles M, Shetty GY, Alary M, Vickerman P, Group C-E, Vassall A. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 9;9(9):e106582. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106582. eCollection 2014.

Objective: The study objective is to measure, analyse costs of scaling up HIV prevention for high-risk groups in India, in order to assist the design of future HIV prevention programmes in South Asia and beyond.

Design: Prospective costing study.

Methods: This study is one of the most comprehensive studies of the costs of HIV prevention for high-risk groups to date in both its scope and size. HIV prevention included outreach, sexually transmitted infections (STI) services, condom provision, expertise enhancement, community mobilisation and enabling environment activities. Economic costs were collected from 138 non-government organisations (NGOs) in 64 districts, four state level lead implementing partners (SLPs), and the national programme level (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)) office over four years using a top down costing approach, presented in US$ 2011.

Results: Mean total unit costs (2004-08) per person reached at least once a year and per monthly contact were US$ 235(56-1864) and US$ 82(12-969) respectively. 35% of the cost was incurred by NGOs, 30% at the state level SLP and 35% at the national programme level. The proportion of total costs by activity were 34% for expertise enhancement, 37% for programme management (including support and supervision), 22% for core HIV prevention activities (outreach and STI services) and 7% for community mobilisation and enabling environment activities. Total unit cost per person reached fell sharply as the programme expanded due to declining unit costs above the service level (from US$ 477 per person reached in 2004 to US$ 145 per person reached in 2008). At the service level also unit costs decreased slightly over time from US$ 68 to US$ 64 per person reached.

Conclusions: Scaling up HIV prevention for high risk groups requires significant investment in expertise enhancement and programme administration. However, unit costs decreased with programme expansion in spite of an increase in the scope of activities.

Abstract  Full-text [free] access

Editor’s notes: This paper captures the costs of one of the largest HIV prevention programmes among key populations to date. In the four states of study, Avahan focussed on a comprehensive set of activities among female sex workers and men who have sex with men. In addition to intervening with key populations the programme also focussed on strengthening technical expertise among providers. Most costing studies have focussed on costs at the service delivery level. It is widely acknowledged that the costs incurred at higher levels of the system are largely unknown. This study applies a top down cost allocation, which followed funding from the national, state and district levels as well the service delivery level. Only 35% of programme costs were at the service level, though this increases as programmes mature and scale up. This emphasises how detrimental ignoring higher level costs can be when making projections of budget impact and may provide insights into why so many new programmes and individual activities are not sustained.

Asia
India
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Hunger hinders antiretroviral therapy adherence

Does food insecurity undermine adherence to antiretroviral therapy? A systematic review.

Singer AW, Weiser SD, McCoy SI. AIDS Behav. 2014 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print]

A growing body of research has identified food insecurity as a barrier to antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence. We systematically reviewed and summarized the quantitative literature on food insecurity or food assistance and ART adherence. We identified nineteen analyses from eighteen distinct studies examining food insecurity and ART adherence. Of the thirteen studies that presented an adjusted effect estimate for the relationship between food insecurity and ART adherence, nine found a statistically significant association between food insecurity and sub-optimal ART adherence. Four studies examined the association between food assistance and ART adherence, and three found that ART adherence was significantly better among food assistance recipients than non-recipients. Across diverse populations, food insecurity is an important barrier to ART adherence, and food assistance appears to be a promising intervention strategy to improve ART adherence among persons living with HIV. Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of food assistance in improving ART adherence and other clinical outcomes among people living with HIV in the era of widespread and long-term treatment.

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Editor’s notes: A number of qualitative studies have found that a lack of food is given as a reason for non-adherence to anti-retroviral therapy (ART). The authors wanted to see if quantitative studies on food security and adherence supported this view. As with many systematic reviews the number of quantitative studies included in the final analysis was small: fourteen. However, the majority of these studies did find an association between the availability of food and adherence. The authors very carefully describe the difference methods used to measure both food security and ART adherence.  These findings show both the wide range of methods used for measurement and definitions of adherence and food security, which made comparisons difficult. So, while the authors did find that food insecurity is a barrier to adherence, they could not say why. Given that food insecurity may be a threat to adherence for the some of the increasing numbers of people starting ART, further research is urgently needed. We need to understand more about the association between food and ART adherence. 

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Integrating HIV, malaria and diarrhoea prevention is far more efficient than vertical programmes

Scaling up integrated prevention campaigns for global health: costs and cost-effectiveness in 70 countries. 

Marseille E, Jiwani A, Raut A, Verguet S, Walson J, Kahn JG. BMJ Open. 2014 Jun 26;4(6):e003987. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003987.

Objective: This study estimated the health impact, cost and cost-effectiveness of an integrated prevention campaign (IPC) focused on diarrhoea, malaria and HIV in 70 countries ranked by per capita disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) burden for the three diseases.

Methods: We constructed a deterministic cost-effectiveness model portraying an IPC combining counselling and testing, cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, referral to treatment and condom distribution for HIV prevention; bed nets for malaria prevention; and provision of household water filters for diarrhoea prevention. We developed a mix of empirical and modelled cost and health impact estimates applied to all 70 countries. One-way, multiway and scenario sensitivity analyses were conducted to document the strength of our findings. We used a healthcare payer's perspective, discounted costs and DALYs at 3% per year and denominated cost in 2012 US dollars.

Primary and secondary outcomes: The primary outcome was cost-effectiveness expressed as net cost per DALY averted. Other outcomes included cost of the IPC; net IPC costs adjusted for averted and additional medical costs and DALYs averted.

Results: Implementation of the IPC in the 10 most cost-effective countries at 15% population coverage would cost US$583 million over 3 years (adjusted costs of US$398 million), averting 8.0 million DALYs. Extending IPC programmes to all 70 of the identified high-burden countries at 15% coverage would cost an adjusted US$51.3 billion and avert 78.7 million DALYs. Incremental cost-effectiveness ranged from US$49 per DALY averted for the 10 countries with the most favourable cost-effectiveness to US$119, US$181, US$335, US$1 692 and US$8 340 per DALY averted as each successive group of 10 countries is added ordered by decreasing cost-effectiveness.

Conclusions: IPC appears cost-effective in many settings, and has the potential to substantially reduce the burden of disease in resource-poor countries. This study increases confidence that IPC can be an important new approach for enhancing global health.

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Editor’s notes: Increasingly governments and policy makers are seeking to identify how to invest resources most effectively, to achieve multiple health and development outcomes. This paper presents a cost-effectiveness analysis of an integrated campaign to prevent diarrhoea, malaria and HIV.  

They developed a model to estimate the cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted by this intervention, across 70 countries with high disease burden, assuming 15% coverage. The authors categorise countries by income level and their opportunity index (i.e. the opportunity to avert DALYs by having a high disease burden). The findings suggest that an integrated prevention campaign (IPC) could cost as little as US$7 per DALY averted in Guinea-Bissau, a low income, high opportunity country. As would be expected, the contribution of the different IPC components varied by country, depending on their relative disease burdens. This suggests that further focusing of activities within countries may further improve efficiency.

The model was also used to consider potential roll out strategies across counties. For this, countries were grouped into blocks of 10, and ordered with increasing incremental-cost effectiveness. The authors suggest that reaching the top 40 countries with IPC, even at just 15% coverage, could achieve far greater health benefits, with a substantially lower budget, than requested under PEPFAR for antiretroviral therapy alone.

This paper provides further evidence of the need for a more integrated approach to improve population health across disease areas.

Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America
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