PLoS One. 2023 Mar 13;18(3):e0282826. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282826. eCollection 2023.
BACKGROUND: Nigeria has been consistently targeted in sub-Saharan Africa as an HIV-priority country. Its main mode of transmission is heterosexual, and consequently, a key population of interest is female sex workers (FSWs). While HIV prevention services are increasingly implemented by community-based organizations (CBOs) in Nigeria, there is a paucity of evidence on the implementation costs of these organizations. This study seeks to fill this gap by providing new evidence about service delivery unit cost for HIV education (HIVE), HIV counseling and testing (HCT), and sexually transmitted infection (STI) referral services.
METHODS: In a sample of 31 CBOs across Nigeria, we calculated the costs of HIV prevention services for FSWs taking a provider-based perspective. We collected 2016 fiscal year data on tablet computers during a central data training in Abuja, Nigeria, in August 2017. Data collection was part of a cluster-randomized trial examining the effects of management practices in CBOs on HIV prevention service delivery. Staff costs, recurrent inputs, utilities, and training costs were aggregated and allocated to each intervention to produce total cost calculations, and then divided by the number of FSWs served to produce unit costs. Where costs were shared across interventions, a weight proportional to intervention outputs was applied. All cost data were converted to US dollars using the mid-year 2016 exchange rate. We also explored the cost variation across the CBOs, particularly the roles of service scale, geographic location, and time.
RESULTS: The average annual number of services provided per CBO was 11,294 for HIVE, 3,326 for HCT, and 473 for STI referrals. The unit cost per FSW tested for HIV was 22 USD, the unit cost per FSW reached with HIV education services was 19 USD, and the unit cost per FSW reached by STI referrals was 3 USD. We found heterogeneity in total and unit costs across CBOs and geographic location. Results from the regression models show that total cost and service scale were positively correlated, while unit costs and scale were consistently negatively correlated; this indicates the presence of economies of scale. By increasing the annual number of services by 100 percent, the unit cost decreases by 50 percent for HIVE, 40 percent for HCT, and 10 percent for STI. There was also evidence that indicates that the level of service provision was not constant over time across the fiscal year. We also found unit costs and management to be negatively correlated, though results were not statistically significant.
CONCLUSIONS: Estimates for HCT services are relatively similar to previous studies. There is substantial variation in unit costs across facilities, and evidence of a negative relationship between unit costs and scale for all services. This is one of the few studies to measure HIV prevention service delivery costs to female sex workers through CBOs. Furthermore, this study also looked at the relationship between costs and management practices-the first of its kind to do so in Nigeria. Results can be leveraged to strategically plan for future service delivery across similar settings.
PMID:36913371 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0282826