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Cost-effectiveness of providing measles vaccination to all children in Guinea-Bissau

Measles vaccination is associated with major reductions in child mortality and morbidity. In Guinea-Bissau, to limit vaccine wastage, children are only measles vaccinated if at least six children aged 9-11 months are present at a vaccination session.

Objective: To estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness of providing measles vaccine (MV) to all children regardless of age and number of children present.

Methods: We estimated MV coverage among children living in villages cluster-randomized to MV for all children and among children cluster-randomized to the current restrictive MV policy (status quo). Prices of MV and injection equipment were obtained from UNICEF. Cost savings of hospital admissions averted were collected from a sample of health facilities. The non-specific mortality effects of MV were estimated and presented as deaths averted and life years gained (LYG) from providing MV-for-all.

Results: MV coverage at 36 months was 97% in MV-for-all clusters and 84% in restrictive MV policy clusters. Conservatively assuming 90% wastage of MV under the MV-for-all policy and 40% under the restrictive MV policy, cost per child vaccinated was USD 3.08 and USD 1.19, respectively. The incremental costs per LYG and deaths averted of MV-for-all policy were USD 5.61 and USD 148, respectively. MV-for-all policy became cost-saving at 88% wastage.

Conclusions: Taking the low cost of MV and the beneficial non-specific effects of MV into consideration, a 10-dose MV vial should be reclassified as a “1+ dose vial”. The vial should be opened for a single child, irrespective of age, but can vaccinate up to 10 children.