The purpose, methods, data sources and assumptions behind the World Health Organization (WHO) Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Costing (C4P) tool that was developed to assist low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with planning and costing their nationwide human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program are presented. Tanzania is presented as a case study where the WHO C4P tool was used to cost and plan the roll-out of HPV vaccines nationwide as part of the national comprehensive cervical cancer prevention and control strategy.
The WHO C4P tool focuses on estimating the incremental costs to the health system of vaccinating adolescent girls through school-, health facility- and/or outreach-based strategies. No costs to the user (school girls, parents or caregivers) are included. Both financial (or costs to the Ministry of Health) and economic costs are estimated. The cost components for service delivery include training, vaccination (health personnel time and transport, stationery for tally sheets and vaccination cards, and so on), social mobilization/IEC (information, education and communication), supervision, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The costs of all the resources used for HPV vaccination are totaled and shown with and without the estimated cost of the vaccine. The total cost is also divided by the number of doses administered and number of fully immunized girls (FIGs) to estimate the cost per dose and cost per FIG.
Over five years (2011 to 2015), the cost of establishing an HPV vaccine program that delivers three doses of vaccine to girls at schools via phased national introduction (three regions in year 1, ten regions in year 2 and all 26 regions in years 3 to 5) in Tanzania is estimated to be US$9.2 million (excluding vaccine costs) and US$31.5 million (with vaccine) assuming a vaccine price of US$5 (GAVI 2011, formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations). This is equivalent to a financial cost of US$5.77 per FIG, excluding the vaccine cost. The most important costs of service delivery are social mobilization/IEC and service delivery operational costs.
When countries expand their immunization schedules with new vaccines such as the HPV vaccine, they face initial costs to fund critical pre-introduction activities, as well as incremental system costs to deliver the vaccines on an ongoing basis. In anticipation, governments need to plan ahead for non-vaccine costs so they will be financed adequately. Existing human resources need to be re-allocated or new staff need to be recruited for the program to be implemented successfully in a sustainable and long-term manner.
Reaching a target group not routinely served by national immunization programs previously with three doses of vaccine requires new delivery strategies, more transport of vaccines and health workers and more intensive IEC activities leading to new delivery costs for the immunization program that are greater than the costs incurred when a new infant vaccine is added to the existing infant immunization schedule. The WHO C4P tool is intended to help LMICs to plan ahead and estimate the programmatic and operational costs of HPV vaccination.