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vol.109 issue10Reasons for requesting removal of the hormonal implant, Implanon NXT, at an urban reproductive health clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South AfricaPractice choices of clinical associates: Policy realisation or practical reality? author indexsubject indexarticles search
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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


CHOLA, L et al. Projecting the fiscal impact of South Africa's contraceptive needs: Scaling up family planning post 2020. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2019, vol.109, n.10, pp.756-760. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. Evidence-informed priority setting is vital to improved investment in public health interventions. This is particularly important as South Africa (SA) makes the shift to universal health coverage and institution of National Health Insurance. OBJECTIVES. To measure the financial impact of increasing the demand for modern contraceptive methods in the SA public health sector. We estimated the total cost of providing contraceptives, and specifically the budgetary impact of premature removals of long-acting reversible contraceptives. METHODS. We created a deterministic model in Microsoft Excel to estimate the costs of contraception provision over a 5-year time horizon (2018 - 2023) from a healthcare provider perspective. Only direct costs of service provision were considered, including drugs, supplies and personnel time. Costs were not discounted owing to the short time horizon. Scenario analyses were conducted to test uncertainty. RESULTS. The base-case cost of current contraceptive use in 2018 was estimated to be ZAR1.64 billion (ZAR29 per capita). Injectable contraceptives accounted for ~47% of total costs. To meet the total demand for family planning, SA would have to spend ~30% more than the estimate for current contraceptive use. In the year 2023, the 'current use' of modern contraceptives would increase to ZAR2.2 billion, and fulfilling the total demand for family planning would require ZAR2.9 billion. The base-case cost of implantable contraceptives was estimated at ZAR54 million. Assuming a normal removal rate, the use of implants is projected to increase by 20% during the 5-year period between 2019 and 2023, with an estimated 46% increase in costs. The cost of early removal of Implanon NXT is estimated at ZAR75 million, with total contraception costs estimated at ZAR102 million in 2019, compared with ZAR56 million when a normal removal rate is applied. CONCLUSIONS. The costs of scaling up modern contraceptives in SA are substantial. Early and premature removals of implantable contraceptives are costly to the nation and must be minimised. The government should consider conducting appropriate health technology assessments to inform the introduction of new public health interventions as SA makes the shift to universal health coverage by means of National Health Insurance.

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