Health economic impacts and cost-effectiveness of aflatoxin reduction strategies in Africa: Case studies in biocontrol and postharvest interventions

Wu, F. and Khlangwiset, P. (2010) Health economic impacts and cost-effectiveness of aflatoxin reduction strategies in Africa: Case studies in biocontrol and postharvest interventions. Food Additives and Contaminants-A, 27 (4). pp. 496-509.

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Advances in health economics have proven useful in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of interventions, where the benefit usually takes the form of improved health outcomes rather than market outcomes. We perform health-based cost-effectiveness analyses of two potential aflatoxin control strategies in Africa: 1) pre-harvest biocontrol, using atoxigenic strains of Aspergillus flavus to competitively exclude toxigenic strains from colonizing maize in Nigeria, and 2) postharvest interventions in a package to reduce aflatoxin accumulation in groundnuts in Guinea. We describe how health benefits gained from each intervention, in terms of fewer aflatoxin-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cases, can be compared with costs of implementing the interventions. We find that both interventions would be extremely cost-effective if applied widely in African agriculture. That is, the monetized value of lives saved and quality of life gained by reducing aflatoxin-induced HCC far exceeds the cost of either biocontrol or the postharvest intervention package to achieve those health benefits. The estimated cost-effectiveness ratio (CER; gross domestic product multiplied by disability-adjusted life years saved per unit cost) for biocontrol in Nigerian maize ranges from 5.10 to 24.8; while the estimated CER for the postharvest intervention package in Guinean groundnuts ranges from 0.21 to 2.08. Any intervention with a CER greater than 1 is considered by the World Health Organization to be “very cost-effective,” while an intervention with a CER greater than 0.33 is considered “cost-effective.” Aside from cost-effectiveness, public health interventions must be readily accepted by the public, and must have financial and infrastructural support to be feasible in the parts of the world where they are most needed

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: aflatoxin, health economics, cost effectiveness, risk assessment, hepatocellular carcinoma, biocontrol, postharvest control strategies, public health interventions
Author Affiliation: Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh, 100 Technology Dr, Pittsburgh PA 15219, USA
Subjects: Postharvest Management
Divisions: Groundnut
Depositing User: Ms K Syamalamba
Date Deposited: 15 May 2012 03:06
Last Modified: 15 May 2012 03:06
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