Meningitis infections are often associated with high mortality and risk of sequelae. The costs of treatment and care for meningitis are a great burden on health care systems, particularly in resource-limited settings. The objective of this study is to review data on the costs of care for meningitis in low- and middle-income countries, as well as to show how results could be extrapolated to countries without sound data.We conducted a systematic review of the literature from six databases to identify studies examining the cost of care in low- and middle-income countries for all age groups with suspected, probable, or confirmed meningitis. We extracted data on treatment costs and sequelae by infectious agent and/or pathogen, where possible. Using multiple regression analysis, a relationship between hospital costs and associated determinants was investigated in order to predict costs in countries with missing data. This relationship was used to predict treatment costs for all 144 low- and middle-income countries.The methodology of conducting a systematic review, extrapolating, and setting up a standard database can be used as a tool to inform cost-effectiveness analyses in situations where cost of care data are poor. Both acute and long-term costs of meningitis could be extrapolated to countries without reliable data. Although only bacterial causes of meningitis can be vaccine-preventable, a better understanding of the treatment costs for meningitis is crucial for low- and middle-income countries to assess the cost-effectiveness of proposed interventions in their country. This cost information will be important as inputs in future cost-effectiveness studies, particularly for vaccines.
- resource-limited settings