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    Cost-benefit of Iron Deficiency Interventions in Argentina

    By Keith R | February 16, 2009

    Topics: Health Issues | No Comments »

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    A recent issue of the Pan American Journal of Public Health includes an article* that attempts to estimate the direct and indirect cost of iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in Argentina and compare it with the cost of a prevention and treatment program.

    The authors analyzed a prior scenario to gage the relative cost-benefit of an IDA prevention and treatment program for all low-income children and expectant mothers without social coverage/benefits in Argentina. The economic consequences of ID and IDA were estimated as direct (cost of care for premature birth) and indirect costs (future lost productivity due to poor cognitive development due of children with ID and current reduced productivity of adults with IDA) employing the specific methodology designed by The Micronutrient Initiative (Ottawa, Canada). The interventions were defined according the practical clinical guidelines in use in Argentina and the item costs were taken from Ministry of Health (MSal) price lists.

    The analysis found that iron deficiency interventions not only significantly improve the health status of the population, but also offer a considerable savings.  For each US$ 1.00 invested in an ID and IDA prevention and treatment program, assuming 90% coverage of breastfeeding/pregnant uninsured low-income mothers, would save US$ 33.40 by preventing the economic losses that would otherwise result from these conditions.

    * Drake I, Bernztein R. Costo-beneficio de un programa preventivo y terapéutico para reducir la deficiencia de hierro en Argentina. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2009;25(1):39–46.

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