Thyroid Hormone Tests Ordering Practice and Cost-Effectiveness in Samples Referred to International Clinical Laboratories from Addis Ababa Health Facilities

Main Article Content

Kifle Tilahun
Meaza Demissie
Tamrat Bekele
Mesfin Nigussie
Damen H/Mariam


BACKGROUND: Thyroid dysfunction accounts for majority of endocrine disorders. In sub-Saharan Africa Graves’ disease and hypothyroidism have accounted for 13.1% and 8.8% while the burden of thyroid disorder has ranged from 6.18 to47.34% among countries in the Arab world. The cost for a primary thyroid test done to evaluate the gland function constituted a large proportion of the public health budget. For instance, 10 million thyroid functions have been done each year by laboratories which cost 30 million UK pounds, and they represent 8% of laboratory charge in the US. When a TSH-only protocol (guideline) was used, 95% of the requests were sufficient for diagnosis without requiring further tests, thereby resulting in 50% savings on FT4 reagent and reducing the annual TFT reagent cost by 25%. This is an original study, and its objective was to assess the ordering pattern of TSH tests and their cost-effectiveness in patients’ samples referred to ICL from Addis Ababa health facilities between July2015 to June 2016

METHOD: An institution-based cross-sectional study design was utilized to study the ordering pattern of thyroid function tests using one-year retrospective data from ICL.

RESULTS: Thyroid profiles were ordered more frequently (49.5%) compared to TSH only (24.3%). An additional 2625.70 USD was paid by patients for individual components in the profile tests that turned out normal.

CONCLUSION: Guidelines advocate TSH as the initial test for thyroid dysfunction, but the use of a combination of tests is more common.

Article Details

Original Article
Author Biographies

Kifle Tilahun, Addis Ababa University

Research and development section,
International Clinical Laboratories,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Meaza Demissie, Addis Continental Institute of Public Health

Director’s Office, Addis
Continental Institute of Public
Health, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tamrat Bekele, International Clinical Laboratories

General Manager Office,
International Clinical Laboratories,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Mesfin Nigussie, International Clinical Laboratories

Technical Department,
International Clinical Laboratories,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Damen H/Mariam, Addis Ababa University

Head Office, School of Public
Health, Addis Ababa University,
Addis Abab a, Ethiopia