Estimating the economic burden of typhoid in children and adults in Blantyre, Malawi: A costing cohort study


Background: Typhoid causes preventable death and disease. The World Health Organization recommends Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine for endemic countries, but introduction decisions depend on cost-effectiveness. We estimated household and healthcare economic burdens of typhoid in Blantyre, Malawi.

Methods: In a prospective cohort of culture-confirmed typhoid cases at two primary- and a referral-level health facility, we collected direct medical, non-medical costs (2020 U.S. dollars) to healthcare provider, plus indirect costs to households.

Results: From July 2019-March 2020, of 109 cases, 63 (58%) were <15 years old, 44 (40%) were inpatients. Mean hospitalization length was 7.7 days (SD 4.1). For inpatients, mean total household and provider costs were $93.85 (95%CI: 68.87-118.84) and $296.52 (95%CI: 225.79-367.25), respectively. For outpatients, these costs were $19.05 (95%CI: 4.38-33.71) and $39.65 (95%CI: 33.93-45.39), respectively. Household costs were due mainly to direct non-medical and indirect costs, medical care was free. Catastrophic illness cost, defined as cost >40% of non-food monthly household expenditure, occurred in 48 (44%) households.

Conclusions: Typhoid can be economically catastrophic for families, despite accessible free medical care. Typhoid is costly for government healthcare provision. These data make an economic case for TCV introduction in Malawi and the region and will be used to derive vaccine cost-effectiveness.

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