Economic evaluations of psychological treatments for common mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries: protocol for a systematic review

Vimbayi Mutyambizi-Mafunda*, Bronwyn Myers, Katherine Sorsdahl, Esther Chanakira, Crick Lund, Susan Cleary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Common mental disorders (CMDs) are highly prevalent conditions that constitute a major public health and economic burden on society in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Despite the increased demand for economic evidence to support resource allocation for scaled-up implementation of mental health services in these contexts, economic evaluations of psychological treatments for CMDs remain scarce. Objective: The proposed systematic review aims to synthesize findings on methods and outcomes of economic evaluations of psychological treatments for CMDs in LMICs and appraise quality. Methods: We will identify, select, and extract data from published economic evaluations of psychological interventions for CMDs conducted in LMICs. We will search bibliographic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, EconLit, PsycINFO, Africa-Wide Information, Cochrane library, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) Registry), and the African Journals Online (AJOL) and Google Scholar platforms. Only full economic evaluations (Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA), Cost-Utility Analysis (CUA), Cost-Consequence Analysis (CCA), or Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA)) of psychological treatments for CMDs (defined as depressive, anxiety, and substance use disorders) conducted in LMICs will be included. There will be no restrictions based on date of publication, perspective, follow-up duration or sample size. Data extraction will be guided by the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) checklist. Results: The results presented will be examined using a narrative synthesis approach. The quality of included studies will be assessed using the Drummond & Jefferson checklist. Conclusion: The fledgling evidence base in this area provides an opportunity to promote improved economic evaluation methods in line with repeated calls for economic evidence alongside effectiveness evidence in these settings. A rigorously developed economic evaluation evidence base will support resource allocation decisions for scaled up implementation of psychological interventions in LMIC settings. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42020185277.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1972561
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Common mental disorders
  • economic evaluation
  • low-middle income countries
  • psychological treatment


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