What does it cost to conduct mass drug administration (MDA) for scabies in Fiji?

A recent article by Ms Maria Mow and colleagues at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Serices, and the University of New South Wales, led by Dr Natalie Carvalho from the Health Economics Unit (Centre for Health Policy) and Prof Andrew Steer from MCRI, has been published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Scabies poses a significant burden on both health and economic systems. The Global Burden of Disease estimates that this skin disease affects more than 200 million people globally. However, the economic burden of scabies has not been studied widely and there are limited data on the cost of treating scabies in highly endemic areas. We conducted a costing study of a mass drug administration (MDA) program in the Northern Division of Fiji (population of 131,914). We collected financial and economic costs of administering ivermectin and permethrin to the whole of the Northern Division population in order to estimate the per capita cost of delivering MDA. The costs of MDA for scabies in Fiji were higher than those estimated in previous studies of MDA for other neglected tropical diseases. The study highlights significant cost components of implementing a large-scale MDA and provides key insights for the design and implementation of future MDA programs for scabies. It also adds to the general knowledge in understanding cost inputs and estimating the overall cost-effectiveness of this public health intervention.