Influence of supply-side factors on voluntary medical male circumcision costs in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia

Sep 13, 2018; Plos One .


In this study, we described facility-level voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) unit cost, examined unit cost variation across facilities, and investigated key facility characteristics associated with unit cost variation.

We used data from 107 facilities in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia covering 2011 or 2012. We used micro-costing to estimate economic costs from the service provider’s perspective. Average annual costs per client were estimated in 2013 United States dollars (US$). Econometric analysis was used to explore the relationship between VMMC total and unit cost and facility characteristics.

Average VMMC unit cost ranged from US$66 (SD US$79) in Kenya to US$160 (SD US$144) in South Africa. Total cost function estimates were consistent with economies of scale and scope. We found a negative association between the number of VMMC clients and VMMC unit cost with a 3% decrease in unit cost for every 10% increase in number of clients and we found a negative association between the provision of other HIV services and VMMC unit cost. Also, VMMC unit cost was lower in primary health care facilities than in hospitals, and lower in facilities implementing task shifting.

Substantial efficiency gains could be made in VMMC service delivery in all countries. Options to increase efficiency of VMMC programs in the short term include focusing service provision in high yield sites when demand is high, focusing on task shifting, and taking advantage of efficiencies created by integrating HIV services. In the longer term, reductions in VMMC unit cost are likely by increasing the volume of clients at facilities by implementing effective demand generation activities.

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