Patient-incurred costs in a differentiated service delivery club intervention compared to standard clinical care in Northwest Tanzania

Nwanneka E. Okere*, Lucia Corball, Dunia Kereto, Sabine Hermans, Denise Naniche, Tobias F. Rinke de Wit, Gabriela B. Gomez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Placing all clients with a positive diagnosis for HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has cost implications both for patients and health systems, which could, in turn, affect feasibility, sustainability and uptake of new services. Patient-incurred costs are recognized barriers to healthcare access. Differentiated service delivery (DSD) models in general and community-based care in particular, could reduce these costs. We aimed to assess patient-incurred costs of a community-based DSD intervention (clubs) compared to clinic-based care in the Shinyanga region, Tanzania. Methods: Cross-sectional survey among stable ART patients (n = 390, clinic-based; n = 251, club-based). For each group, we collected socio-demographic, income and expenditure data between May and August 2019. We estimated direct and indirect patient-incurred costs. Direct costs included out-of-pocket expenditures. Indirect costs included income loss due to time spent during transport, accessing services and off work during illness. Cost drivers were assessed in multivariate regression models. Results: Overall, costs were significantly higher among clinic participants. Costs (USD) per year for clinic versus club were as follows: 11.7 versus 4.17 (p < 0.001) for direct costs, 20.9 versus 8.23 (p < 0.001) for indirect costs and 32.2 versus 12.4 (p < 0.001) for total costs. Time spent accessing care and time spent in illness (hours/year) were 38.3 versus 13.8 (p < 0.001) and 16.0 versus 6.69 (p < 0.001) respectively. The main cost drivers included transportation (clinic vs. club: 67.7% vs. 44.1%) for direct costs and income loss due to time spent accessing care (clinic vs. club: 60.4% vs. 56.7%) for indirect costs. Factors associated with higher total costs among patients attending clinic services were higher education level (coefficient [95% confidence interval]) 20.9 [5.47 to 36.3]) and formal employment (44.2 [20.0 to 68.5). Differences in mean total costs remained significantly higher with formal employment, rural residence, in addition to more frequent visits among clinic participants. The percentage of households classified as having had catastrophic expenditures in the last year was low but significantly higher among clinic participants (10.8% vs. 5.18%, p = 0.014). Conclusions: Costs incurred by patients accessing DSD in the community are significantly lower compared to those accessing standard clinic-based care. DSD models could improve access, especially in resource-limited settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25760
JournalJournal of the international aids society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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