Considering equity and cost-effectiveness in assessing a parenting intervention to promote early childhood development in rural Vietnam

Yeji Baek, Zanfina Ademi, Thach Tran, Alice Owen, Trang Nguyen, Stanley Luchters, David B. Hipgrave, Sarah Hanieh, Tuan Tran, Ha Tran, Beverley Ann Biggs, Jane Fisher (Leading Author)

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Considering equity in early childhood development (ECD) is important to ensure healthy development for every child. Equity-informative cost-effectiveness analysis can further guide decision makers to maximize outcomes with limited resources while promoting equity. This cost-effectiveness study aimed to examine the equity impacts of a multicomponent ECD intervention in rural Vietnam. We estimated the cost-effectiveness of the intervention with a 30-month time horizon from the service provider and household perspectives with equity considerations. Data were from a cluster-randomized controlled trial comparing the intervention with the local standard of care. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) per child cognitive development score gained were estimated by household wealth quintile and maternal education level, adjusted for cluster effects and baseline characteristics such as maternal parity and age. A 3% discount rate was applied to costs, and non-parametric cluster bootstrapping was used to examine uncertainty around ICERs. Children in the intervention had higher cognitive development scores than those in the control arm across all subgroups. Based on intervention recurrent cost, the ICER per cognitive development score gained was lower in children from the poorest quintile (-US$6) compared to those from the richest quintile (US$16). Similarly, the ICER per cognitive development score gained was lower in children whose mothers had the lowest education level (-US$0.02) than those with mothers who had the highest education level (US$7). Even though our findings should be interpreted with caution due to the insufficient study power, the findings suggest that the intervention could promote equity while improving child cognitive development with greater cost-effectiveness in disadvantaged groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-925
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2023


  • cognitive development
  • cost-effectiveness
  • Early childhood development
  • equity
  • Vietnam

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