Global Health Priorities
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Rotavirus vaccination increases effect of diarrhoeal treatment in Ethiopia

Deaths due to diarrhoea is one of the main killers of children in Sub Saharan Africa. In a new paper published in BMJ open Solomon Tessema Memire and Kjell Arne Johansson together with US examine the impact of universal public financing of rotavirus vaccination and diarrhoeal treatment in Ethiopia.

african child
Rotavirus vaccine increases effect of diarrhoeal treatment for children in Ethiopia

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The purpose of this study was to illustrate the size and distribution of health and non-health benefits due to treatment and prevention of diarrhoea (ie, rotavirus vaccination). Kjell Arne Johansson explains:

"We use an economic model to examine the impacts of universal public finance (UPF) of diarrhoeal treatment alone, as opposed to diarrhoeal treatment along with rotavirus vaccination in Ethiopia using extended cost-effectiveness analysis (ECEA).

ECEA allows us to measure the health gains and financial risk protection provided by these interventions for each wealth quintile. We calculate deaths averted, private expenditures averted and costs incurred by the government under the baseline situation and with UPF.

We find that diarrhoeal treatment paired with rotavirus vaccination is more cost effective than diarrhoeal treatment alone for the metrics we examine in this paper (deaths and private expenditures averted). Per US$1 million invested, diarrhoeal treatment saves 44 lives and averts US$115 000 in private expenditures. For the same investment, diarrhoeal treatment and rotavirus vaccination save 61 lives and avert US$150 000 in private expenditures. The health benefits of these interventions tend to benefit the poor, while the financial benefits favour the better-off.

Policymakers should consider multiple benefit streams as well as their scale and incidence when considering public finance of health interventions."