Macroeconomic costs of the unmet burden of surgical disease in Sierra Leone: a retrospective economic analysis.
Grimes CE., Quaife M., Kamara TB., Lavy CBD., Leather AJM., Bolkan HA.
OBJECTIVES: The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery estimated that low/middle-income countries will lose an estimated cumulative loss of US$12.3 trillion from gross domestic product (GDP) due to the unmet burden of surgical disease. However, no country-specific data currently exist. We aimed to estimate the costs to the Sierra Leone economy from death and disability which may have been averted by surgical care. DESIGN: We used estimates of total, met and unmet need from two main sources-a cluster randomised, cross-sectional, countrywide survey and a retrospective, nationwide study on surgery in Sierra Leone. We calculated estimated disability-adjusted life years from morbidity and mortality for the estimated unmet burden and modelled the likely economic impact using three different methods-gross national income per capita, lifetime earnings foregone and value of a statistical life. RESULTS: In 2012, estimated, discounted lifetime losses to the Sierra Leone economy from the unmet burden of surgical disease was between US$1.1 and US$3.8 billion, depending on the economic method used. These lifetime losses equate to between 23% and 100% of the annual GDP for Sierra Leone. 80% of economic losses were due to mortality. The incremental losses averted by scale up of surgical provision to the Lancet Commission target of 80% were calculated to be between US$360 million and US$2.9 billion. CONCLUSION: There is a large economic loss from the unmet need for surgical care in Sierra Leone. There is an immediate need for massive investment to counteract ongoing economic losses.