Costs of providing food assistance to HIV/AIDS patients in Sofala province, Mozambique: a retrospective analysis
1 Faculty of Economics and Management, Catholic University of Mozambique, Beira, Mozambique
2 Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen ELG 117, the Netherlands
Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation 2013, 11:20 doi:10.1186/1478-7547-11-20Published: 28 August 2013
As care and antiretroviral treatment (ART) for people living with HIV/AIDS become widely available, the number of people accessing these resources also increases. Despite this exceptional progress, the estimated coverage in low- and middle-income countries is still less than half of all people who need treatment. In addition, treatment discontinuation and non-adherence are still concerns for ART programs. Governments and partner institutions have sought to implement a variety of interventions addressing the main reasons behind the low coverage of, discontinuation of, and non-adherence to ART. Food assistance is one of those interventions; increasing evidence suggests that this type of intervention has the potential to improve ART outcomes. However, to our knowledge, no study has estimated its costs in detail. The objective of this study was to assess the costs of a program providing food assistance to HIV/AIDS patients in Sofala province, Mozambique, in 2009.
We performed a retrospective analysis of the costs of providing food assistance, based on financial and economic costs. We used the ingredients approach to estimate costs, which involved multiplying the total estimated quantities of goods and services actually employed in providing the intervention by their respective unit prices.
In 2009, the cost of providing food assistance to HIV/AIDS patients was $2.27 million, with capital and recurrent costs accounting for 1% and 99% of total costs, respectively. Food made up the largest component, at 49% of total costs. At 24%, transport operating costs were the second largest item. The cost per patient served was $288 over 3 months.
The food distribution program carries significant costs. To assess whether it provides value for money, the present study results should be interpreted in conjunction with the program’s impact, and in comparison with other programs that aim to improve adherence to ART. Our costing analysis revealed important management information, indicating that the program incurred relatively large overhead costs. This result raises questions regarding the efficiency of implementing this food distribution program.