Purpose: This study aimed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of a community- based rehabilitation (CBR) programme known as Inspire2Care (I2C), implemented in Nepal by Karuna Foundation Nepal. In the absence of any gold standard methodology to measure cost-effectiveness, the authors developed a new methodology to estimate the programme’s achievements and cost-effectiveness.
Methods: Financial records were reviewed to determine total expenditure during the period August 2011 - December 2013. Programme records which documented the physical, mental and social status of children and adults with a disability qualitatively before, during and after the intervention were used to determine a starting disability weight and improvement score, which was then converted into a change in disability weight. The disability weight and expected remaining lifespan of each person were used to estimate disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted by the intervention. The cost per DALY averted was estimated by dividing the total programme expenditure by the sum of DALYs averted over that same period.
Results: I2C cost 204,823 Euros to implement over the period August 2011- December 2013. In total, an estimated 1,065 DALYs were averted from the treatment and rehabilitation components. The cost per DALY averted was 192.34 Euros.
Conclusions and Implications: The methodology devised for the study was able to successfully estimate the cost-effectiveness of the I2C programme. Using WHO benchmarks, this programme can be considered highly cost-effective. Other organisations can assess the cost-effectiveness of their programmes by using the assessment improvement score and subsequent conversion to DALYs averted. However, while mental, physical and social gains have been captured, other benefits from I2C cannot be captured in the cost per DALY averted statistic. Further research is needed to develop methods for incorporating these harder-to- measure gains in cost-effectiveness studies with a single outcome measure like the DALY.