BACKGROUND:Diarrhoea remains one of the top ten causes of under-five child morbidity in Bhutan, and rotavirus is a significant cause of child diarrhoeal hospitalisations. This study sought to determine the health outcomes, cost-effectiveness, and budget and human resource implications of introducing rotavirus vaccines in the routine immunisation program to inform Bhutan's decision-making process. METHODS:We used UNIVAC model (version 1.3.41) to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a rotavirus vaccination programme compared with no vaccination from a government perspective. We also projected the impact of rotavirus vaccination on human resources and budget. Acost-effectiveness threshold was determined to be 0.5 times the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (equivalent to the United States dollar ($) 1,537) per Disability-Adjusted Life-Year (DALY) averted.One-way deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses, and threshold analyses were performed to capture parameter uncertainties. RESULTS:In Bhutan, a rotavirus vaccination programme over 10 years (2020 to 2029) can avert between 104 and 115 DALYs, at an incremental cost ranging from $322,000 to $1,332,000. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) across four vaccination programmes compared to no vaccination scenario were $9,267, $11,606, $3,201, and $2,803 per DALY averted for ROTARIX, RotaTeq, ROTAVAC, and ROTASIIL, respectively. The net five-year budget impact of introducing a rotavirus vaccination programme ranged from $0.20 to $0.81 million. The rotavirus vaccination programme has a potential to reduce the workload of health care workers such as paediatricians, nurses, dieticians, and pharmacists; however, the programme would require an additional 1.93-2.88 full-time equivalent of health assistants. CONCLUSION:At the current cost-effectiveness threshold, routine rotavirus vaccination in Bhutan is unlikely to be cost-effective with any of the currently available vaccines. However, routine vaccination with ROTASIIL was under the cost-effectiveness threshold of one times the GDP per capita ($3,074). ROTASIIL and ROTAVAC would provide the best value for money in Bhutan.
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Essential Medicines and Technology Division, Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Bhutan.