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Health Policy Plan. 2000 Dec;15(4):432-40.

The costs of HIV/AIDS care at government hospitals in Zimbabwe.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe.


According to official figures, HIV infection in Zimbabwe stood at 700 000-1 000 000 in 1995, representing 7-10% of the population, with even higher expected numbers in 2000. Such high numbers will have far reaching effects on the economy and the health care sector. Information on costs of treatment and care of HIV/AIDS patients in health facilities is necessary in order to have an idea of the likely costs of the increasing number of HIV/AIDS patients. Therefore, the present study estimated the costs per in-patient day as well as per in-patient stay for patients in government health facilities in Zimbabwe with special emphasis on HIV/AIDS patients. Data collection and costing was done in seven hospitals representing various levels of the referral system. The costs per in-patient day and per in-patient stay were estimated through a combination of two methods: bottom-up costing methodology (through an in-patient note review) to identify the direct treatment and diagnostic costs such as medication, laboratory tests and X-rays, and the standard step-down costing methodology to capture all the remaining resources used such as hospital administration, meals, housekeeping, laundry, etc. The findings of the study indicate that hospital care for HIV/AIDS patients was considerably higher than for non-HIV/AIDS patients. In five of the seven hospitals visited, the average costs of an in-patient stay for an HIV/AIDS patient were found to be as much as twice as high as a non-HIV/AIDS patient. This difference could be attributed to higher direct costs per in-patient day (medication, laboratory tests and X-rays) as well as longer average lengths of stay in hospital for HIV/AIDS patients compared with non-infected patients. Therefore, the impact on hospital services of increasing number of HIV/AIDS patients will be enormous.

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