Lymphatic filariasis (LF) affects more than 120 million people worldwide. Efforts to eliminate this disease require sustained community participation. This study explores community valuation of LF elimination efforts by estimating household and community willingness to pay (WTP) for the prevention of transmission and treatment of filarial lymphedema in the community of Leogane, Haiti.
A contingent valuation survey was used to assess individual WTP for specific prevention and treatment interventions. A 2-dimensional Monte Carlo simulation was developed to estimate confidence limits in mean WTP and to generate a distribution of WTP for the community, accounting for uncertainty in regression coefficients and variability within the population.
Mean WTP was estimated to be $5.57/month/household (95% CL: $4.76, $6.72) to prevent disease transmission, and $491/yr (95% CL: $377, $662) for treatment of lymphedema for one person. Based on the estimated distributions, 7% and 39% of households were not willing to pay for prevention and treatment, respectively.
These results suggest that the majority of the community places a positive value on both prevention and treatment of LF. Mean WTP provides a useful monetary estimate of overall societal benefit of LF prevention and treatment programs. However, for interventions which require broad and sustained community participation, the lower end of the distribution of WTP has additional implications. Cost recovery policies may result in inadequate participation and longer program duration.