Lack of anaesthesia services is a frequent barrier to emergency surgeries such as caesarean delivery in Kenya. This study aimed to estimate the survival gains and cost-effectiveness of scaling up the Every Second Matters (ESM)-Ketamine programme that trains non-anaesthetist providers to administer and monitor ketamine during emergency caesarean deliveries.
Hospitals in Kenyan counties with low rates of caesarean delivery.
Patients needing emergency caesarean delivery in settings without availability of standard anaesthesia service.
Simulated scales up of the ESM-Ketamine programme over 5 years (2020–24) was compared with status quo.
Cost of implementing the programme and corresponding additional emergency caesarean deliveries. Maternal and fetal/neonatal deaths prevented, and corresponding life-years gained due to increased provision of emergency caesarean procedures. Cost-effectiveness was assessed by comparing the cost per life-year gained of the ESM-Ketamine programme compared with status quo.
Over 5 years, the expected gap in emergency caesarean deliveries was 157 000. A US$1.2 million ESM-Ketamine programme reduced this gap by 28 700, averting by 316 maternal and 4736 fetal deaths and generating 331 000 total life-years gained. Cost-effectiveness of scaling up the ESM-Ketamine programme was US$44 per life-year gained in the base case and US$251 in the most pessimistic scenario—a very good value for Kenya at less than 20% of per capita GDP per life-year gained.
In areas of Kenya with significant underprovision of emergency caesarean delivery due to a lack of availability of traditional anaesthesia, an ESM-Ketamine programme is likely to enable a substantial number of life-saving surgeries at reasonable cost.