Estimating the costs for the treatment of abortion complications in two public referral hospitals: a cross-sectional study in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

PG Ilboudo, G Greco, J Sundby, G TorsvikBMC Health Service Research 2016(7 Oct);16(1):559Treatment costs of induced abortion complications can consume a substantial amount of hospital resources. This use of hospitals’ scarce resources to treat induced abortion complications may affect hospitals’ capacities to deliver other health care services. In spite of the importance of studying the burden of the treatment of induced abortion complications, few studies have been conducted to document the costs of treating abortion complications in Burkina Faso. Our objective was to estimate the costs of six abortion complications, including: incomplete abortion, haemorrhage, shock, infection/sepsis, cervix or vagina laceration, and uterus perforation treated in two public referral hospital facilities in Ouagadougou and the cost savings of providing safe abortion care services.MethodsThe distribution of abortion-related complications was assessed through a review of post-abortion care registers combined with interviews with key informants in maternity wards and in-hospital facilities. Two structured questionnaires were used for data collection following the perspective of the hospital. The first questionnaire collected information on the units and the unit costs of drugs and medical supplies used in the treatment of each complication. The second questionnaire gathered information on salaries and overhead expenses. All data were entered in a spreadsheet designed for studying abortion, and analyses were performed on Excel 2007.ResultsAcross six types of abortion complications, the mean cost per patient was USD 45.86. The total cost to these two public referral hospital facilities for treating the complications of abortion was USD 22,472.53 in 2010, equivalent to USD 24,466.21 in 2015. Provision of safe abortion care services to women who suffered from complications of unsafe induced abortion and who received care in these public hospitals would only have cost USD 2,694, giving potential savings of more than USD 19,778.53 in that year.ConclusionsThe treatment of the complications of abortion consumes a significant proportion of the two public hospitals’ resources in Burkina Faso. Safe abortion care services may represent a cost-beneficial alternative, as it may have saved USD 19,778.53 in 2010.CARTOON: by Damien Glez, commissioned for a conference on unsafe abortion in Burkina Faso in 2013.