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Costs of Eye Care Services: Prospective Study from a Faith-based Hospital in Zambia

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Purpose: To estimate the mean costs of cataract surgery and refractive error correction at a faith-based eyehospital in Zambia.
Methods: Out-of-pocket expenses for user fees, drugs and transport were collected from 90 patient interviews; 47 received cataract surgery and 43 refractive error correction. Overhead and diagnosis-specific costs were determined from micro-costing of the hospital. Costs per patient were calculated as the sum of out-of-pocket expenses and hospital costs, excluding user fees to avoid double counting.
Results: From the perspective of the hospital, overhead costs amounted to US$31 per consultation and diagnosis-specific costs were US$57 for cataract surgery and US$36 for refractive error correction.
When including out-of-pocket expenses, mean total costs amounted to US$128 (95% confidence interval [CI] US$96–168) per cataract surgery and US$86 (95% CI US$67–118) per refractive error correction. Costs of providing services corresponded well with the user fee levels established by the hospital.
Conclusion: This is the first paper to report on the costs of eye care services in an African setting. The methods used could be replicated in other countries and for other types of visual impairments. These estimates are crucial for determining resources needed to meet global goals for elimination of avoidable blindness.”