Document Type



Pathology (East Africa)


Background: The aim of this study was to analyse willingness to pay (WTP) and ability to pay (ATP) for ACT for children below five years of age in a rural setting in Tanzania before the introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) as first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria. Socio-economic factors associated with WTP and expectations on anti-malaria drugs, including ACT, were also explored.

Methods: Structured interviews and focus group discussions were held with mothers, household heads, health-care workers and village leaders in Ishozi, Gera and Ishunju wards in north-west Tanzania in 2004. Contingent valuation method (CVM) was used with "take-it-or-leave- it" as the eliciting method, expressed as WTP for a full course of ACT for a child and households' opportunity cost of ACT was used to assess ATP. The study included descriptive analyses with multivariate adjustment for potential confounding factors.

Results: Among 265 mothers and household heads, 244 (92%, CI = 88%-95%) were willing to pay Tanzanian Shillings (TSh) 500 (US$ 0.46) for a child's dose of ACT, but only 55% (49%-61%) were willing to pay more than TSh 500. Mothers were more often willing to pay than male household heads (adjusted odds ratio = 2.1, CI = 1.2-3.6). Socio-economic status had no significant effect on WTP. The median annual non-subsidized ACT cost for clinical malaria episodes in an average household was calculated as US$ 6.0, which would represent 0.9% of the average total consumption expenditures as estimated from official data in 2001. The cost of non-subsidized ACT represented 7.0% of reported total annual expenditure on food and 33.0% of total annual expenditure on health care. "Rapid effect," "no adverse effect" and "inexpensive" were the most desired features of an anti-malarial drug.

Conclusion: WTP for ACT in this study was less than its real cost and a subsidy is, therefore, needed to enable its equitable affordability. The decision taken in Tanzania to subsidize Coartem® fully at governmental health care facilities and at a consumer price of TSh 300-500 (US$ 0.28-0.46) at special designated shops through the programme of Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs) appears to be well founded. © 2008 Saulo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


This work was published prior to author’s joining Aga Khan University


Malaria Journal

Included in

Pathology Commons