Background: A global programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (GPELF) is underway, yet two key programmatic features are currently still lacking: (1) the extension of efforts to all lymphatic filariasis (LF) endemic countries, and (2) the expansion of geographic coverage of mass drug administration (MDA) within countries. For varying levels of scale-up of MDA, we assessed the health benefits and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) associated with LF eradication, projected the potential savings due to decreased morbidity management needs, and estimated potential household productivity gains as a result of reduced LF-related morbidity. Methods: We extended an LF transmission model to track hydrocele and lymphoedema incidence in order to obtain estimates of the disability adjusted life years (DALYs) averted due to scaling up MDA over a period of 50 years. We then estimated the ICERs and the cost-effectiveness acceptability curves associated with different rates of MDA scale-up. Health systems savings were estimated by considering the averted morbidity, treatment-seeking behaviour and morbidity management costs. Gains in worker productivity were estimated by multiplying estimated working days lost as a result of morbidity with country-specific per-worker agricultural wages. Results: Our projections indicate that a massive scaling-up of MDA could lead to 4.38 million incremental DALYs averted over a 50-year time horizon compared to a scenario which mirrors current efforts against LF. In comparison to maintaining the current rate of progress against LF, massive scaling-up of MDA—pursuing LF eradication as soon as possible—was most likely to be cost-effective above a willingness to pay threshold of US$71.5/DALY averted. Intensified MDA scale-up was also associated with lower ICERs. Furthermore, this could result in health systems savings up to US$483 million. Extending coverage to all endemic areas could generate additional economic benefits through gains in worker productivity between US$3.4 and US$14.4 billion. Conclusions: In addition to ethical and political motivations for scaling-up MDA rapidly, this analysis provides economic support for increasing the intensity of MDA programmes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health