Cost-effectiveness of childhood cancer treatment in Egypt: Lessons to promote high-value care in a resource-limited setting based on real-world evidence

Background
Childhood cancer in low-and middle-income countries is a global health priority, however, the perception that treatment is unaffordable has potentially led to scarce investment in resources, contributing to inferior survival. In this study, we analysed real-world data about the cost-effectiveness of treating 8886 children with cancer at a large resource-limited paediatric oncology setting in Egypt, between 2013 and 2017, stratified by cancer type, stage/risk, and disease status.

Methods
Childhood cancer costs (USD 2019) were calculated from a health-system perspective, and 5-year overall survival was used to represent clinical effectiveness. We estimated cost-effectiveness as the cost per disability-adjusted life-year (cost/DALY) averted, adjusted for utility decrement for late-effect morbidity and mortality.

Findings
For all cancers combined, cost/DALY averted was $1384 (0.5 × GDP/capita), which is very cost-effective according to WHO–CHOICE thresholds. Ratio of cost/DALY averted to GDP/capita varied by cancer type/sub-type and disease severity (range: 0.1–1.6), where it was lowest for Hodgkin lymphoma, and retinoblastoma, and highest for high-risk acute leukaemia, and high-risk neuroblastoma. Treatment was cost-effective (ratio <3 × GDP/capita) for all cancer types/subtypes and risk/stage groups, except for relapsed/refractory acute leukaemia, and relapsed/progressive patients with brain tumours, hepatoblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, and neuroblastoma. Treatment cost-effectiveness was affected by the high costs and inferior survival of advanced-stage/high-risk and relapsed/progressive cancers.

Interpretation
Childhood cancer treatment is cost-effective in a resource-limited setting in Egypt, except for some relapsed/progressive cancer groups. We present evidence-based recommendations and lessons to promote high-value in care delivery, with implications on practice and policy.

Funding
Egypt Cancer Network; NIHR School for Primary Care Research; ALSAC.

Economic evaluation of expanding inguinal hernia repair among adult males in Ghana

An unmet need for inguinal hernia repair is significant in Ghana where the number of specialist general surgeons is extremely limited. While surgical task sharing with medical doctors without formal specialist training in surgery has been adopted for inguinal hernia repair in Ghana, no prior research has been conducted on the long-term costs and health outcomes associated with expanding operations to repair all inguinal hernias among adult males in Ghana. The study aimed to estimate cost-effectiveness of elective open mesh repair performed by medical doctors and surgeons for adult males with primary inguinal hernia compared to no treatment in Ghana and to project costs and health gains associated with expanding operation services through task sharing between medical doctors and surgeons. The study analysis adopted a healthcare system perspective. A Markov model was constructed to assess 10-year differences in costs and outcomes between operations conducted by medical doctors or surgeons and no treatment. A 10-year budget impact analysis on service expansion for groin hernia repair through increasing task sharing between the providers was conducted. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for medical doctors and surgeons were USD 120 and USD 129 respectively per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted compared to no treatment, which are below the estimated threshold value for cost-effectiveness in Ghana of USD 371–491. Repairing all inguinal hernias (1.4 million) through task sharing between the providers in the same timeframe is estimated to cost USD 194 million. Total health gains of 1.5 million DALYs averted are expected. Inguinal hernia repair is cost-effective regardless of the type of surgical provider. Scaling up of inguinal hernia repair is worthwhile, with the potential to substantially reduce the disease burden in the country.