How much does it cost to achieve coverage targets for primary healthcare services? A costing model from Aceh, Indonesia

Asnawi Abdullah, Krishna Hort, Azwar Zaenal Abidin, Fadilah M. Amin

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Despite significant investment in improving service infrastructure and training of staff, public primary healthcare services in low-income and middle-income countries tend to perform poorly in reaching coverage targets. One of the factors identified in Aceh, Indonesia was the lack of operational funds for service provision. The objective of this study was to develop a simple and transparent costing tool that enables health planners to calculate the unit costs of providing basic health services to estimate additional budgets required to deliver services in accordance with national targets. The tool was developed using a standard economic approach that linked the input activities to achieving six national priority programs at primary healthcare level: health promotion, sanitation and environment health, maternal and child health and family planning, nutrition, immunization and communicable diseases control, and treatment of common illness. Costing was focused on costs of delivery of the programs that need to be funded by local government budgets. The costing tool consisting of 16 linked Microsoft Excel worksheets was developed and tested in several districts enabled the calculation of the unit costs of delivering of the six national priority programs per coverage target of each program (such as unit costs of delivering of maternal and child health program per pregnant mother). This costing tool can be used by health planners to estimate additional money required to achieve a certain level of coverage of programs, and it can be adjusted for different costs and program delivery parameters in different settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-245
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Health Planning and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Basic package of health services
  • Costing tool
  • Primary healthcare
  • Unit costs

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