Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to estimate discounted value of potential non-health gross domestic product (GDP) losses attributable to the 167,913 maternal deaths that occurred among 45 countries in the WHO African Region in 2013. Design/methodology/approach– A cost-of-illness method was used to estimate non-health GDP losses related to maternal deaths. Future non-health GDP losses were discounted at 3 per cent. The analysis was undertaken for countries categorized under three income groups. Findings– The discounted value of future non-health GDP loss due to maternal deaths in 2013 is in the order of Int$5.53 billion. About 17.6 per cent of that occurred in countries in the high and upper income group, 45.7 per cent in the middle income group and 36.7 per cent in the lower middle income group, and the average non-health GDP loss per maternal death was Int$136,799, Int$43,304 and Int$19,822, respectively. Research limitations/implications– This study omitted costs related to direct health care, direct non-health care treatment, patient time for treatment, informal caregivers’ time, intangible costs such as pain and grief, lost output due to morbidity, and negative externalities on the family and community. Social implications– The study demonstrated that maternal deaths have a sizable negative effect on non-health GDP of the region, implying that maternal mortality is not only a human rights concern but also an economic issue and that universal coverage of maternal health interventions ought to be an imperative goal in all countries. Originality/value– This paper provides new evidence on the impact of maternal deaths on non-health GDP of 45 countries in the WHO African Region.
International Journal of Social Economics – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 9, 2016
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