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Title: Costs and benefits of community water fluoridation in remote Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory.
Authors: Zhao Y
Raymond K
Chondur R
Sharp W
Gadd E
Bailie R
Skinner J
Burgess P
Citation: © 2023 National Rural Health Alliance Ltd..
Aust J Rural Health. 2023 Sep 14. doi: 10.1111/ajr.13037.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To undertake an economic evaluation of community water fluoridation (CWF) in remote communities of the Northern Territory (NT). DESIGN: Dental caries experiences were compared between CWF and non-CWF communities before and after intervention. Costs and benefits of CWF are ascertained from the health sector perspective using water quality, accounting, oral health, dental care and hospitalisation datasets. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Remote Aboriginal population in the NT between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2020. INTERVENTION: CWF. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Potential economic benefits were estimated by changes in caries scores valued at the NT average dental service costs. RESULTS: Given the total 20-year life span of a fluoridation plant ($1.77 million), the net present benefit of introducing CWF in a typical community of 300-499 population was $3.79 million. For each $1 invested in CWF by government, the estimated long-term economic value of savings to health services ranged from $1.1 (population ≤300) to $16 (population ≥2000) due to reductions in treating dental caries and associated hospitalisations. The payback period ranged from 15 years (population ≤300) to 2.2 years (population ≥2000). CONCLUSIONS: The economic benefits of expanding CWF in remote Aboriginal communities of NT outweigh the costs of installation, operation and maintenance of fluoridation plants over the lifespan of CWF infrastructure for population of 300 or more.
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Journal title: The Australian journal of rural health
Publication Date: 2023-09-14
Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1111/ajr.13037
Orcid: 0000-0002-5775-4503
Appears in Collections:(a) NT Health Research Collection

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