Technical efficiency of primary health units in Kailahun and Kenema districts of Sierra Leone
Kirigia, Joses M
Sambo, Luis G
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The objectives of the study reported in this paper were to (i) estimate the technical efficiency of samples of community health centres (CHCs), community health posts (CHPs) and maternal and child health posts (MCHPs) in Kailahun and Kenema districts of Sierra Leone, (ii) estimate the output increases needed to make inefficient MCHPs, CHCs and CHPs efficient, and (iii) explore strategies for increasing technical efficiency of these institutions. This study applies the data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach to analyse technical efficiency of random samples of 36 MCHPs, 22 CHCs and 21 CHPs using input and output data for 2008.The findings indicate that 77.8% of the MCHPs, 59.1% of the CHCs and 66.7% of the CHPs were variable returns to scale technically inefficient. The average variable returns to scale technical efficiency was 68.2% (SD = 27.2) among the MCHPs, 69.2% (SD = 33.2) among the CHCs and 59% (SD = 34.7) among the CHPs. This study reveals significant technical inefficiencies in the use of health system resources among peripheral health units in Kailahun and Kenema districts of Sierra Leone. There is need to strengthen national and district health information systems to routinely track the quantities and prices of resources injected into the healthcare systems and health service outcomes (indicators of coverage, quality and health status) to facilitate regular efficiency analyses.