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Occup Med (Lond). 2002 May;52(3):129-35.

Health interventions for the metal working industry: which is the most cost-effective? A study from a developing country.

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  • 1Regional Unit for Epidemiological Research and Health Services, Mexican Social Security Institute, Monterrey, NL Mexico, Mexico.


This study ranked the cost-effectiveness of health interventions in the metal working industry in a developing country. Data were based on 82 034 workers of the Northern region of Mexico. Effectiveness was measured through 'healthy life years' (HeaLYs) gained. Costs were estimated per worker according to type and appropriate inputs from selected health interventions. 'Hand' was the anatomical region that yielded the most gain of HeaLYs and amputation was the injury that yielded the most gain of HeaLYs. The most effective health intervention corresponded to training, followed by medical care, education, helmets, safety shoes, lumbar supports, safety goggles, gloves and safety aprons. In dollar terms, education presented the best cost-effectiveness ratio (US$637) and safety aprons presented the worst cost-effectiveness ratio (US$1 147 770). Training proved to be a very expensive intervention, but presented the best effectiveness outcome and the second best cost-effectiveness ratio (US$2084). Cost-effectiveness analyses in developing countries are critical. Corporations might not have the same funds and technology as those in developed countries or multinational companies.

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