A cost-effectiveness tool to guide the prioritization of interventions for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease control in African nations

Journal Article


Journal Title

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Public Library of Science


University of Cape Town

Author Summary: Rheumatic heart disease is a major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in Africa. Although there are effective medications and surgical procedures for rheumatic heart disease, they are under-used. What is more, these interventions can be expensive--even if they are feasible and effective. Unfortunately, there are currently very few economic studies on rheumatic heart disease, leaving ministries of health with little guidance on how to choose among various interventions and allocate resources to control programs. Our study describes the methods and data we used to develop a cost-effectiveness analysis tool that was intended specifically for decision-making in African countries. In our study, we also illustrate, in a hypothetical low-income African country, how the tool could be used. In our illustrative example, a prevention-oriented approach would save money in the long term, although other interventions could be cost-effective and feasible if enough financial resources were present. These findings contrast with previous studies and make a strong case that rheumatic heart disease prevention could be a high-priority intervention in Africa. We are making our tool publicly available and anticipate that ministries of health will use it as they develop or expand their rheumatic heart disease control programs.