Cost Effectiveness of Anemia Screening: A Systematic Review

Shirin Nosratnejad, Eshagh Barfara, Hamed Hosseinib, Esmat Barootid, Arash Rashidiana


Background: Anemia is the most common blood disorder observed in vulnerable groups and affects their efficiency in their everyday activities. Possible complications of the disease may be reduced or prevented by screening of patients. Screening programs impose certain costs upon the health system, which may offset their positive effects. Whether the positive impacts of screening outweigh its costs is a subject of debate among policy‑makers. In this research, we have conducted a systematic review of the cost‑effectiveness of anemia screening.

Methods: The Pubmed, Science Direct, SCOPUS, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases were searched for relevant results dating between 1962‑2010 using key words. The references of the related articles were gone over manually. In the end, Persian databases were also examined for results.

Results: Using data from the four mentioned databases, a total of 722 articles were elected, which, after evaluation, were narrowed down to 4. Of these, 3 focused on newborns and infants. Disparity existed among obtained results, such that no two articles were similar, and this made making comparisons between them cumbersome and sometimes even impossible. Only one study evaluated cost‑effectiveness of anemia screening in vulnerable target groups.

Conclusions: Research findings show that there is not enough evidence of cost‑effectiveness of screening for decision‑making. Bearing in mind the importance of the matter to health policy‑makers, due to high prevalence of iron‑deficiency anemia in low‑ and middle‑income countries, conduction of research in this field seems necessary.

Keywords: Anemia, cost‑effectiveness, screening, systematic review

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