As the global burden of dengue grows, so too does the realization of just how little information we have on the toll of the disease. And with the advent of a vaccine growing near, countries are beginning to ask, “How much does dengue cost?” as they consider whether or not to introduce a vaccine.
In response to the growing need to answer the question of cost in order to weigh the benefits of future introduction of vaccines against dengue, the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University (a member of DVI) convened an expert panel in March 2012 to discuss and develop a standardized methodology for estimating costs of dengue in the Americas. The resulting Guidelines, published late last month, aim to ensure robust assessment of the economic burden of dengue infections and to make the results of future dengue cost studies more comparable among Latin-American countries. To date, only a handful of economic studies have been done in the region, and there is great variation even amongst these due to differences at every level of evaluation.
The Guidelines provide an overview of the state of the field of determining the overall economic burden borne by the community as a result of dengue (costing dengue), as well as a discussion of the methods used in costing dengue. There are many considerations that need to be taken in to account when doing such analysis, from understanding the health care system where the study is being conducted to determining the definition of a dengue outbreak. The expert panel concludes that, while there is no single theoretically correct approach to developing guidelines for costing dengue, experts generally adhered to certain principles including:
- The adoption of a societal (broad rather than individual) perspective;
- The inclusion of all relevant costs and effects (direct medical and non-medical costs of treating a case of dengue, productivity loss of patient and caregiver, etc) ;
- The use of an adequate sample size, and;
- The optimal collection and valuation of unit cost data for use in multi-country settings (making sure that data collected from a variety of countries and settings is collected well and able to be compared).
The Guidelines cautions that, while they were produced by a group of experts, all of whom are or have been involved in exercises related to costing dengue, estimation of dengue costs is such a new area in which there is little published literature, few of the present authors had practical experience in this area. With the goal that publication of the Guidelines on costs spurs further study in Latin America, the authors hope that future editions will be able to be substantially revised in the light of practical experience gained in these projects.
You can find the full document, Costing Dengue Cases And Outbreaks: A Guide To Current Practices And Procedures, here