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Cost of individual peer counselling for the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding in Uganda

DOI: 10.1186/1478-7547-9-11

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Abstract:

We costed the peer support intervention, which was offered to 406 breastfeeding mothers in Uganda. The average number of counselling visits was about 6 per woman. Annual financial and economic costs were collected in 2005-2008. Estimates were made of total project costs, average costs per mother counselled and average costs per peer counselling visit. Alternative intervention packages were explored in the sensitivity analysis. We also estimated the resources required to fund the scale up to district level, of a breastfeeding intervention programme within a public health sector model.Annual project costs were estimated to be US$56,308. The largest cost component was peer supporter supervision, which accounted for over 50% of total project costs. The cost per mother counselled was US$139 and the cost per visit was US$26. The cost per week of EBF was estimated to be US$15 at 12 weeks post partum. We estimated that implementing an alternative package modelled on routine public health sector programmes can potentially reduce costs by over 60%. Based on the calculated average costs and annual births, scaling up modelled costs to district level would cost the public sector an additional US$1,813,000.Exclusive breastfeeding promotion in sub-Saharan Africa is feasible and can be implemented at a sustainable cost. The results of this study can be incorporated in cost effectiveness analyses of exclusive breastfeeding promotion programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.Sub-Saharan Africa has the poorest child health record, accounting for over half of all deaths of children worldwide [1,2]. The most common causes of mortality are pneumonia and diarrhoea, together accounting for over 30% of child deaths [2,3], but these diseases may in part be prevented by exclusive breastfeeding [4]. Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) of infants is, therefore, accepted as the most appropriate form of infant feeding [5,6]. Though the health benefits of EBF have been documented in various studies [7-9], this f

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