Background: As the global strategies to fight the SARS-COV-2 infection (COVID-19) evolved, global response strategies impacted the magnitude and distribution of health-related expenditures. Although the economic consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been dire, and its true scale yet to be ascertained, one key component of the response is the management of infected persons which its cost has not been adequately examined, especially in the context of African countries.
Methodology: To partly fill gaps in context-specific cost of treating COVID-19 patients, we adopted a health system’s perspective and a bottom-up, point of care resource use data collection approach to estimate the cost of clinical management of COVID-19 infection in Ghana.
Findings: We found that resource use and average cost of treatment per COVID-19 case varied significantly by level of disease severity and treatment setting. The cost of treating COVID-19 patients in Ghana from the perspective of the health system ranged from US$282 (GH ¢1,629) to US$23,382 (GH ¢135,149), with an average of US$11,925 (GH ¢68,929). The cost of treatment increased by at least 20 folds once a patient moved from home management to the treatment centre. PPEs and Transportation were the main cost drivers for institutionalised care, whilst investigations (COVID-19 testing) and staff time were for home-based care.
Conclusion: Cost savings could be made by early detection and effective treatment of COVID- 19 cases, preferably at home, before any chance of deterioration to the next worst form of the disease state, thereby freeing up more resources for other aspects of the fight against the pandemic. Policy makers in Ghana should thus make it a top priority to intensify the early detection and case management of COVID-19 infections.