Cost of hospital care of women with postpartum haemorrhage in India, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda: a financial case for improved prevention

Access to quality, effective lifesaving uterotonics in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) remains a major barrier to reducing maternal deaths from postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). Our objective was to assess the costs of care for women who receive different preventative uterotonics, and with PPH and no-PPH so that the differences, if significant, can inform better resource allocation for maternal health care.

The costs of direct hospital care of women who received oxytocin or heat-stable carbetocin for prevention of PPH in selected tertiary care facilities in India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda were assessed. We collected data from all women who had PPH, as well as a random sample of women without PPH. Cost data was collected for the cost of stay, PPH interventions, transfusions and medications for 2966 women. We analyzed the difference in cost of care at a facility level between women who experienced a PPH event and those who did not.

Key findings

The mean cost of care of a woman experiencing PPH in the study sites in India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda exceeded the cost of care of a woman who did not experience PPH by between 21% and 309%. There was a large variation in cost across hospitals within a country and across countries.

Our results quantify the increased cost of PPH of up to 4.1 times that for a birth without PPH. PPH cost information can help countries to evaluate options across different conditions and in the formulation of appropriate guidelines for intrapartum care, including rational selection of quality-assured, effective medicines. This information can be applied to national assessment and adaptation of international recommendations such as the World Health Organization’s recommendations on uterotonics for the prevention of PPH or other interventions used to treat PPH.

Costs and outcomes in evaluating management of unhealed surgical wounds in the community in clinical practice in the UK: a cohort study.

To evaluate the patient pathways and associated health outcomes, resource use and corresponding costs attributable to managing unhealed surgical wounds in clinical practice, from initial presentation in the community in the UK.

This was a retrospective cohort analysis of the records of 707 patients in The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database whose wound failed to heal within 4 weeks of their surgery. Patients’ characteristics, wound-related health outcomes and healthcare resource use were quantified, and the total National Health Service (NHS) cost of patient management was estimated at 2015/2016 prices.

Inconsistent terminology was used in describing the wounds. 83% of all wounds healed within 12 months from onset of community management, ranging from 86% to 74% of wounds arising from planned and emergency procedures, respectively. Mean time to healing was 4 months per patient. Patients were predominantly managed in the community by nurses and only around a half of all patients who still had a wound at 3 months were recorded as having had a follow-up visit with their surgeon. Up to 68% of all wounds may have been clinically infected at the time of presentation, and 23% of patients subsequently developed a putative wound infection a mean 4 months after initial presentation. Mean NHS cost of wound care over 12 months was £7300 per wound, ranging from £6000 to £13 700 per healed and unhealed wound, respectively. Additionally, the mean NHS cost of managing a wound without any evidence of infection was ~£2000 and the conflated cost of managing a wound with a putative infection ranged from £5000 to £11 200.

Surgeons are unlikely to be fully aware of the problems surrounding unhealed surgical wounds once patients are discharged into the community, due to inconsistent recording in patients’ records coupled with the low rate of follow-up appointments. These findings offer the best evidence available with which to inform policy and budgetary decisions pertaining to managing unhealed surgical wounds in the community.