Shankar Prinja et al
PLOS One, 2016
With the commitment of the national government to provide universal healthcare at cheap and affordable prices in India, public healthcare services are being strengthened in India. However, there is dearth of cost data for provision of health services through public system like primary & community health centres. In this study, we aim to bridge this gap in evidence by assessing the total annual and per capita cost of delivering the package of health services at PHC and CHC level. Secondly, we determined the per capita cost of delivering specific health services like cost per antenatal care visit, per institutional delivery, per outpatient consultation, per bed-day hospitalization etc.
We undertook economic costing of fourteen public health facilities (seven PHCs and CHCs each) in three North-Indian states viz., Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Bottom-up costing method was adopted for collection of data on all resources spent on delivery of health services in selected health facilities. Analysis was undertaken using a health system perspective. The joint costs like human resource, capital, and equipment were apportioned as per the time value spent on a particular service. Capital costs were discounted and annualized over the estimated life of the item. Mean annual costs and unit costs were estimated along with their 95% confidence intervals using bootstrap methodology.
The overall annual cost of delivering services through public sector primary and community health facilities in three states of north India were INR 8.8 million (95% CI: 7,365,630–10,294,065) and INR 26.9 million (95% CI: 22,225,159.3–32,290,099.6), respectively. Human resources accounted for more than 50% of the overall costs at both the level of PHCs and CHCs. Per capita per year costs for provision of complete package of preventive, curative and promotive services at PHC and CHC were INR 170.8 (95% CI: 131.6–208.3) and INR162.1 (95% CI: 112–219.1), respectively.
The study estimates can be used for financial planning of scaling up of similar health services in the urban areas under the aegis of National Health Mission. The estimates would be also useful in undertaking equity analysis and full economic evaluations of the health systems.