Study: Malaria-Control Efforts in Zambia Associated with Reduced Costs, Malaria-Related Admissions in Two Hospitals

Nov 12, 2013, 09:00 ET from Abt Associates

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Admissions for malaria in two hospitals in Zambia declined and one hospital's spending on malaria-related admissions decreased by 10 percentage points when malaria control activities were scaled up, according to new research published online in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. This is the first study to provide a comprehensive understanding of how malaria-control efforts affect a hospital's admissions and costs related to malaria.

Researchers from Abt Associates, as well as collaborators from the President's Malaria Initiative/United States Agency for International Development, Macha Mission Hospital, Livingstone General Hospital, and the National Malaria Control Center examined patient records from two hospitals in Zambia's Southern Province and compared hospital admissions and outpatient visits for malaria and estimated the costs for malaria admissions before and after malaria control was scaled-up in the areas these hospitals serve. Zambia has a high prevalence of malaria and was an early adopter of strategies to control malaria such as long-lasting insecticide treated nets, the application of indoor residual spraying to fight malaria, and the use of effective first-line anti-malarial drugs.

At Macha Mission Hospital in the country's rural Choma District, inpatient hospital admissions for malaria in children under five fell from 20 percent in 2003 to 1 percent in 2008. At the Livingstone General Hospital, outpatient malaria visits for patients under five accounted for 27 percent of all outpatient visits in 2007, compared to 5 percent in 2008. There, the percentage of inpatient malaria admissions for under-five patients relative to total admissions for children under five fell from 18 percent in 2005 to 2 percent in 2008.

In addition, spending on malaria admissions decreased in both hospitals. At Macha Mission Hospital, malaria accounted for 11 percent of total estimated hospital spending in 2003, compared to less than 1 percent in 2008 following malaria-control efforts. At Livingstone General Hospital, malaria admissions accounted for 2 percent of total estimated hospital expenditures in 2005 and dropped to 0.3 percent by 2008.

"This study shows strong evidence linking Zambia's efforts to control malaria with a decrease in inpatient hospital admissions and outpatient visits for malaria at both hospitals," said Alison Comfort, an associate at Abt and the study's lead author. "As resources devoted to treating malaria are freed up, resources could be made available to treat other diseases."

For a copy of the study, visit:

The study was funded by the United States Agency for International Development's President's Malaria Initiative through the Health Systems 20/20 project and the Health Finance and Governance projects.

About Abt Associates

Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators.  The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in nearly 40 countries.

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SOURCE Abt Associates