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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Using data envelopment analysis to measure the extent of technical efficiency of public health centres in Ghana

James Akazili1*, Martin Adjuik1, Caroline Jehu-Appiah2 and Eyob Zere3

Author Affiliations

1 Navrongo Health Research Centre, P.O. Box 114, Navrongo, Upper East Region, Ghana

2 Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation division of Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana

3 World Health Organization, P. O. Box 30390, Lilongwe, Malawi

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BMC International Health and Human Rights 2008, 8:11  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-8-11

Published: 20 November 2008



Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) has been used to analyze the efficiency of the health sector in the developed world for sometime now. However, in developing economies and particularly in Africa only a few studies have applied DEA in measuring the efficiency of their health care systems.


This study uses the DEA method, to calculate the technical efficiency of 89 randomly sampled health centers in Ghana. The aim was to determine the degree of efficiency of health centers and recommend performance targets for the inefficient facilities.


The findings showed that 65% of health centers were technically inefficient and so were using resources that they did not actually need.


The results broadly point to grave inefficiency in the health care delivery system of public health centers and that significant amounts of resources could be saved if measures were put in place to curb the waste.