The economic consequences of neurosurgical disease in low- and middle-income countries.

OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to estimate the economic consequences of neurosurgical disease in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). METHODS The authors estimated gross domestic product (GDP) losses and the broader welfare losses attributable to 5 neurosurgical disease categories in LMICs using two distinct economic models. The value of lost output (VLO) model projects annual GDP losses due to neurosurgical disease during 2015-2030, and is based on the WHO’s “Projecting the Economic Cost of Ill-health” tool. The value of lost economic welfare (VLW) model estimates total welfare losses, which is based on the value of a statistical life and includes nonmarket losses such as the inherent value placed on good health, resulting from neurosurgical disease in 2015 alone. RESULTS The VLO model estimates the selected neurosurgical diseases will result in $4.4 trillion (2013 US dollars, purchasing power parity) in GDP losses during 2015-2030 in the 90 included LMICs. Economic losses are projected to disproportionately affect low- and lower-middle-income countries, risking up to a 0.6% and 0.54% loss of GDP, respectively, in 2030. The VLW model evaluated 127 LMICs, and estimates that these countries experienced $3 trillion (2013 US dollars, purchasing power parity) in economic welfare losses in 2015. Regardless of the model used, the majority of the losses can be attributed to stroke and traumatic brain injury. CONCLUSIONS The economic impact of neurosurgical diseases in LMICs is significant. The magnitude of economic losses due to neurosurgical diseases in LMICs provides further motivation beyond already compelling humanitarian reasons for action.