Antenatal syphilis screening using point-of-care testing in low- and middle-income countries in Asia and latin america: a cost-effectiveness analysis

Andreas Kuznik, Christine Muhumuza, Henry Komakech, Elsa Marques, Mohamed Lamorde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

7 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Untreated syphilis in pregnancy is associated with adverse clinical outcomes to the infant. In low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Latin America, 20%-30% of women are not tested for syphilis during pregnancy. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of increasing the coverage for antenatal syphilis screening in 11 Asian and 20 Latin American countries, using a point-of-care immunochromatographic strip (ICS) test. METHODS: The decision analytical cost-effectiveness models reported incremental costs per disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted from the perspectives of the national health care payer. Clinical outcomes were stillbirths, neonatal deaths, and congenital syphilis. DALYs were computed using WHO disability weights. Costs included the ICS test, three injections of benzathine penicillin, and nurse wages. Country-specific inputs included the antenatal prevalence of syphilis and the proportion of women in the antenatal care setting that are screened for syphilis infection as reported in the 2014 WHO baseline report on global sexually transmitted infection surveillance. Country-specific data on the annual number of live births, proportion of women with at least one antenatal care visit, and per capita gross national income were also included in the model. RESULTS: The incremental cost/DALY averted of syphilis screening is US$53 (range: US$10-US$332; Prob<1*per capita GDP=99.71%) in Asia and US$60 (range: US$5-US$225; Prob<1*per capita GDP=99.77%) in Latin America. Universal screening may reduce the annual number of stillbirths by 20,344 and 4,270, neonatal deaths by 8,201 and 1,721, cases of congenital syphilis by 10,952 and 2,298, and avert 925,039 and 197,454 DALYs in the aggregate Asian and Latin American panel, respectively. CONCLUSION: Antenatal syphilis screening is highly cost-effective in all the 11 Asian and 20 Latin American countries assessed. Our findings support the decision to expand syphilis screening in countries with currently low screening rates or continue national syphilis screening programs in countries with high rates
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10(5)
Early online date26 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2015


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Congenital syphilis
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Antenatal care

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