Economic analysis of a screening program for diabetes mellitus in Brazil

OBJECTIVE: Diabetes mellitus is a common disease and costly public health concern and an expressive number of affected individuals have undiagnosed diabetes mellitus. In 2001, the Brazilian Ministry of Health conducted a national diabetes screening campaign. The purpose of this study was to estimate the yield and economic impact of this screening strategy. METHODS: Based on positive screenees (fasting glucose >100 mg/dL or nonfasting >140 mg/dL) probable new cases of diabetes were estimated and a decision analytic model was built up. Primary and secondary data were used to estimate screening cost (in Brazilian Reais, R$) and yield (new cases of diabetes detected), assuming a single-payer-perspective. Sensitivity analyses were performed. RESULTS: Assuming a prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes mellitus of 4.8%, probable new cases of diabetes were 518,579 (23 new cases per 1,000 subjects screened), considering that 33% of positive-screening individuals underwent confirmatory glucose testing. The cost per new case of diabetes diagnosed would be R$89. The results were sensitive to percentage of confirmatory tests performed. CONCLUSIONS: The costs of nationwide community screening in Brazil were significant, however, in absolute terms lower than those described by other countries.

Diabetes mellitus; Cost-benefit analysis; Health promotion; Diabetes mellitus; Diabetes mellitus

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