COST OF PRIMARY HEALTH CARE IN PAKISTAN
AbstractBackground: Detailed cost analysis is an important tool for review of health policy and reforms. We provide an estimate of cost of service and its detailed breakup on out-door patient visits (OPV) to basic health units (BHU) in Pakistan. Method: Six BHUs were randomly selected from each of the five districts in Khyber Pukhtonkhawa (KPK) and two agencies in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan for this study. Actual expenditure data and utilization data in the year 2005–06 of 42 BHUs was collected from selected district health offices in KPK and FATA. Costs were estimated for outpatient visits to BHUs. Perspective on cost estimates was district-based health planning and management of BHUs. Results: Average recurring cost was PKR.245 (USD 4.1) per OPV to BHU. Staff salaries constituted 90% of recurrent cost. On the average there were 16 OPV per day to the BHUs. Conclusion: Recurrent cost per OPV has doubled from the previous estimates of cost of OPV inBaluchistan. The estimated recurrent cost was six times higher than average consultation charges with the private general practitioner (GP) in the country (i.e., PKR 50/ GP consultation). Performance of majority of the BHUs was much lower than the performance target (50 patients per day) set in the sixth five-year plan of the government ofPakistan. The Government of Pakistan may use these analyses to revisit the performance target, staffing and location of BHUs.Keywords: Primary healthcare, healthcare cost, administrative efficiency, health services accessibility
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