Background: As family planning programs mature and the requirements for the resources expand, research is required to shed light on cost analysis of the program. A recent World Bank study has focused on the financing and cost effectiveness of the Indian family planning program.
Objective: The objective of this study is to determine the unit cost of a family planning program provided at the primary health centers (PHCs) and to examine the variations in unit cost in different PHCs.
Materials and Methods: The present study was carried out in three PHCs of Ahmedabad district, namely Sanathal, Nandej, and Uperdal, between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2007. For estimating the cost of a health program, information on all the physical and human resources that were basic inputs to the PHC services were collected and grouped into two categories: non-recurrent (capital resources vehicles, buildings, etc.) and recurrent resources (salaries, contraceptives, maintenance, etc.). To generate the required data, two types of schedules were developed: daily time schedule and PHC/SC (subcenter) information schedule.
Results: The unit cost of utilizing family planning method works out to be highest at Nandej PHC (Rs. 267.68) and lowest at Uperdal PHC (Rs. 190.44), followed by (Rs. 194.12) at Sanathal PHC. The high cost at Nandej PHC is due to low utilization of the family planning service.
Conclusions: Increasing the coverage of health services is a key to reduce the unit cost. Personnel costs account for the maximum share of the total cost. Hence, efforts should be made to have a judicious use of personnel.
Key words: Capital cost, primary health center (PHC), reproductive and child health (RCH), recurrent cost, subcenter (SC), total cost, unit cost