Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions to Improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Outcomes: A WHO-CHOICE Analysis for Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland

2 School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia

3 Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland

4 Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland

5 Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland

6 Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals (IVB), World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland


Information on cost-effectiveness allows policy-makers to evaluate if they are using currently available resources effectively and efficiently. Our objective is to examine the cost-effectiveness of health interventions to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) outcomes, to provide global evidence relative to the context of two geographic regions.
We consider interventions across the life course from adolescence to pregnancy and for children up to 5 years old. Interventions included are those that fall within the areas of immunization, child healthcare, nutrition, reproductive health, and maternal/newborn health, and for which it is possible to model impact on MNCH mortality outcomes using the Lives Saved Tool (LiST). Generalized cost-effectiveness analysis (GCEA) was used to derive average cost-effectiveness ratios (ACERs) for individual interventions and combinations (packages). Costs were assessed from the health system perspective and reported in international dollars. Health outcomes were estimated and reported as the gain in healthy life years (HLYs) due to the specific intervention or combination. The model was run for 2 regions: Eastern sub-Saharan Africa (SSA-E) and South-East Asia (SEA).
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended interventions to improve MNCH are generally considered cost-effective, with the majority of interventions demonstrating ACERs below I$100/HLY saved in the chosen settings (lowand middle-income countries [LMICs]). Best performing interventions are consistent across the two regions, and include family planning, neonatal resuscitation, management of pneumonia and neonatal infection, vitamin A supplementation, and measles vaccine. ACERs below I$100 can be found across all delivery platforms, from community to hospital level. The combination of interventions into packages (such as antenatal care) produces favorable ACERs.
Within each region there are interventions which represent very good value for money. There are opportunities to gear investments towards high-impact interventions and packages for MNCH outcomes. Cost-effectiveness tools can be used at national level to inform investment cases and overall priority setting processes.



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  • Receive Date: 18 March 2020
  • Revise Date: 15 January 2021
  • Accept Date: 31 January 2021
  • First Publish Date: 17 March 2021