Open Access Open Badges Research article

Willingness to pay for a 4% chlorhexidine (7.1% chlorhexidine digluconate) product for umbilical cord care in rural Bangladesh: a contingency valuation study

Patricia S Coffey1*, Mutsumi Metzler1, Ziaul Islam2 and Tracey P Koehlmoos23

  • * Corresponding author: Patricia S Coffey

  • † Equal contributors

Author affiliations

1 Technology Solutions Global Program, PATH, 2201 Westlake Ave, Seattle, WA, 98121, USA

2 Centre for Equity & Health Systems, icddr,b, Mohakhali, Dhaka, 1000, Bangladesh

3 Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, 3000 Marine Corps, Pentagon, Washington, DC, 20350, USA

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Citation and License

BMC International Health and Human Rights 2013, 13:44  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-13-44

Published: 18 October 2013



Recent trials in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan have shown that chlorhexidine is an effective antiseptic for umbilical cord care compared to existing community-based cord care practices. Because of the aggregate reduction in neonatal mortality in these trials, interest is high in introducing a 7.1% chlorhexidine digluconate liquid or gel that delivers 4% chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care in Bangladesh and elsewhere.


In 2010, we conducted a household survey applying a contingent valuation method with 1717 eligible couples (pregnant women or women with a first child younger than 6 months old, and their husbands) in the rural subdistricts of Abhoynagar and Mirsarai in Bangladesh to assess their willingness to pay for three types of umbilical cord care products at different price points. Each respondent was asked about willingness to pay prefixed prices for any one of three 7.1% chlorhexidine digluconate products: 1) a single-dose liquid, 2) a multi-dose liquid, or 3) a gel formulation. Each also reported the maximum price they were independently willing to pay for their selected product. We compared participant willingness-to-pay responses to the prefixed prices with their independently reported maximum prices for each type of the product separately. The comparison identified to what extent the respondents’ positive responses to the prefixed prices matched their independently reported maximum prices.


This cross matching revealed that willingness to pay the prefixed prices was 41% for the single-dose liquid, 33% for the multi-dose liquid, and 31% for the gel formulation. Although the majority of the respondents were unwilling to pay the prefixed prices, all were willing to pay some amount and reported they could borrow money if necessary. Subsequent analysis of responses to the multi-dose liquid showed borrowing money would not be required if the unit price was Bangladeshi taka 15–25.


A unit price of Bangladeshi taka 15–25 (US$0.21–0.35) for multi-dose 7.1% chlorhexidine digluconate liquid would be affordable to the primary target population in Bangladesh. Although a large market demand could be generated if the product were available at this price point, subsidization may be required to achieve optimal coverage, especially among poorer families.

Chlorhexidine; Umbilical cord infection; Umbilical cord care; Willingness to pay; Bangladesh; Neonatal mortality; Contingency valuation