BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major contributor to the burden from non-communicable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa and hypertension is the leading risk factor for CVD. The objective of this modeling study is to assess the cost-effectiveness of a risk stratified approach to medication management in Kenya in order to achieve adequate blood pressure control to reduce CVD events.
METHODS: We developed a microsimulation model to evaluate CVD risk over the lifetime of a cohort of individuals. Risk groups were assigned utilizing modified Framingham study distributions based on individual level risk factors from the Kenya STEPwise survey which collected details on blood pressure, blood glucose, tobacco and alcohol use and cholesterol levels. We stratified individuals into 4 risk groups: very low, low, moderate and high risk. Mortality could occur due to acute CVD events, subsequent future events (for individual who survive the initial event) and other causes. We present cost and DALYs gained due to medication management for men and women 25 to 69 years.
RESULTS: Treating high risk individuals only was generally more cost-effective that treating high and moderate risk individuals. At the anticipated base levels of effectiveness, medication management was only cost-effective under the low cost scenario. The incremental cost per DALY gained with low cost ranged from $1,505 to $3,608, which is well under $4,785 (3 times GPD per capita) threshold for Kenya. Under the low cost scenario, even lower levels of effectiveness of medication management are likely to be cost-effective for high-risk men and women.
CONCLUSIONS: In Kenya, our results indicate that the risk stratified approach to treating hypertension may be cost-effective especially for men and women at a high risk for CVD events, but these results are highly sensitive to the cost of medications. Medication management would require significant financial investment and therefore other interventions, including lifestyle changes, should be evaluated especially for those with elevated blood pressure and overall 10-year risk that is less than 20%.