The cost effectiveness of strategies to reduce barriers to cataract surgery. The Operations Research Group

The cost and effectiveness of eight approaches to reducing barriers to cataract surgery were evaluated in a rural area of South India during 1987-1989. The approaches were based on four intervention alternatives–aphakic motivator (AM), basic eye health worker (BW), screening van (SV), and mass media (MM). Each intervention was offered at two levels of economic incentive: partial, which provides free surgery and hospital stay, and full, which also provides transport from the recipient's village to the hospital and free food during the hospital stay. Evaluations took place in a probability selection of 90 villages, including ten control villages not subjected to either of the interventions. Only costs unique to patients from the intervention villages were considered: Health education and screening costs were included, surgery costs were not. Percentage reductions in the cataract blind backlog and increases in surgical coverage were used as effectiveness measures. Analyses suggest that the SV and AM interventions, both with full economic incentive, offer the greatest advantage. The AM intervention is the more effective of the two, but also the more costly.