Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Costing data for implementing mHealth facilitated tuberculosis contact tracing in Uganda

Citation

Gupta, Amanda J et al. (2022), Costing data for implementing mHealth facilitated tuberculosis contact tracing in Uganda, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c59zw3r93

Abstract

Introduction

Mobile health (mHealth) applications may improve timely access to health services and improve patient-provider communication, but the upfront costs of implementation may be prohibitive, especially in resource-limited settings.

Methods

We measured the costs of developing and implementing an mHealth-facilitated, home-based strategy for tuberculosis (TB) contact investigation (CI) in Kampala, Uganda, between February 2014 and July 2017. We compared routine implementation involving community health workers (CHWs) screening and referring household contacts to clinics for TB evaluation to home-based HIV testing and sputum collection and transport with test results delivered by automated short messaging services (SMS) We carried out key informant interviews with CHWs and asked them to complete time-and-motion surveys. We estimated program costs from the Ugandan health system perspective, using top-down and bottom-up (components-based) approaches. We estimated total costs per contact investigated and per TB-positive contact identified in 2018 US dollars, one and five years after program implementation.

Results 

The total top-down cost was $472,327, including $358,504 (76%) for program development and $108,584 (24%) for program implementation. This corresponded to $320-$348 per household contact investigated and $8873-$9652 per contact diagnosed with active TB over a 5-year period. CHW time was spent primarily evaluating household contacts who returned to the clinic for evaluation (median 30 minutes per contact investigated, interquartile range [IQR]: 30-70), collecting sputum samples (median 29 minutes, IQR: 25-30) and offering HIV testing services (median 28 minutes, IQR: 17- 43). Cost estimates were sensitive to infrastructural capacity needs, program reach, and the epidemiologic yield of contact investigation. 

Conclusion

Over 75% of all costs of the mHealth-facilitated TB contact investigation strategy were dedicated to establishing mHealth infrastructure and capacity. Implementing the mHealth strategy at scale and maintaining it over a longer time horizon could help decrease development costs as a proportion of total costs.

Methods

We measured the costs of developing and implementing an mHealth-facilitated, home-based strategy for tuberculosis (TB) contact investigation (CI) in Kampala, Uganda, between February 2014 and July 2017. We compared routine implementation involving community health workers (CHWs) screening and referring household contacts to clinics for TB evaluation to home-based HIV testing and sputum collection and transport with test results delivered by automated short messaging services (SMS) We carried out key informant interviews with CHWs and asked them to complete time-and-motion surveys. We estimated program costs from the Ugandan health system perspective, using top-down and bottom-up (components-based) approaches. We estimated total costs per contact investigated and per TB-positive contact identified in 2018 US dollars, one and five years after program implementation.