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Costs of scaling up health interventions: a systematic review

Author: Johns, B. and Tan Torres, T.
Year: 2005
Resource type: Report

Reference: WHO-CHOICE. Health Policy and planning, 20 (1), pp. 1-13 

This paper presents a systematic review of the literature on the costs of scaling up health interventions. The objectives of this review are to identify factors affecting costs as coverage increases and to describe typical cost curves for different kinds of interventions. Thirty-seven studies were found, three containing cost data from programmes that had already been scaled up. The other studies provide either quantitative cost projections or qualitative descriptions of factors affecting costs when interventions are scaled up, and are used to determine important factors to consider when scaling up. Cost curves for the scaling up of different health interventions could not be derived with the available data. This review demonstrates that the costs of scaling up an intervention are speci?c to both the type of intervention and its particular setting. However, the literature indicates general principles that can guide the process: (1) calculate separate unit costs for urban and rural populations; (2) identify economies and diseconomies of scale, and separate the ?xed and variable components of the costs; (3) assess availability and capacity of health human resources; and (4) include administrative costs, which can constitute a signi?cant proportion of scale-up costs in the short run.

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Johns, B. and Tan Torres, T. (2005). Costs of scaling up health interventions: a systematic review. www.ennonline.net/scaleuphealthreview

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