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Estimating the costs for the treatment of abortion complications in two public referral hospitals: a cross-sectional study in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

  • January 2016
  • Journal Article
Ilboudo, Patrick, Greco, Giulia, Sundby, Johanne & Torsvik, Gaute

Publication Title: BMC Health Services Research

Abstract: Background: Treatment costs of induced abortion complications can consume a substantial amount of hospital resources. This use of hospitals scarce resources to treat induced abortion complications may affect hospitals’ capacities to deliver other health care services. In spite of the importance of studying the burden of the treatment of induced abortion complications, few studies have been conducted to document the costs of treating abortion complications in Burkina Faso. Our objective was to estimate the costs of six abortion complications including incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, shock, infection/sepsis, cervix or vagina laceration, and uterus perforation treated in two public referral hospital facilities in Ouagadougou and the cost saving of providing safe abortion care services.

Methods: The distribution of abortion-related complications was assessed through a review of postabortion care-registers combined with interviews with key informants in maternity wards and in hospital facilities. Two structured questionnaires were used for data collection following the perspective of the hospital. The first questionnaire collected information on the units and the unit costs of drugs and medical supplies used in the treatment of each complication. The second questionnaire gathered information on salaries and overhead expenses. All data were entered in a spreadsheet designed for studying abortion, and analyses were performed on Excel 2007.

Results: Across six types of abortion complications, the mean cost per patient was USD45.86. The total cost to these two public referral hospital facilities for treating complications of abortion was USD22,472.53 in 2010 equivalent to USD24,466.21 in 2015. Provision of safe abortion care services to women who suffered from complications of unsafe induced abortion and who received care in these public hospitals would only have cost USD2,694, giving potential savings of more than USD19,778.53 in that year.

Conclusions: The treatment of the complications of abortion consumes a significant proportion (up to USD22,472.53) of the two public hospitals resources in Burkina Faso. Safe abortion care services may represent a cost beneficial alternative, as it may have saved USD19,778.53 in 2010.


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