Introduction: Preterm birth and its complications are a major global health burden and significantly contribute to the under-five mortality in Uganda. This study aimed at identifying the morbidities suffered by preterm babies and the cost of preterm care to the provider in Jinja Referral Hospital.

Methods: This was a one-year cost analysis of preterm care from August 2015 – July 2016. The study took on a micro-costing approach, through which medical and accounting records, were reviewed for 507 preterm babies that were seen over the year to determine morbidities of preterm infants and costs from the provider perspective. Analysis of findings was done using a Microsoft excel sheet. Costs were converted to US$ for the annual exchange average rate of 2016. One-way sensitivity analysis was done to establish the impact of cost drivers on the total cost.

Results: We found that the most prevalent morbidities among preterm babies were; neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, respiratory distress and neonatal septicaemia. The total annual cost of preterm care from the provider perspective was US$ 54,108 and the unit cost of care per preterm baby was US$ 107 at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital. Cost drivers included; equipment, personnel and utility costs (water and electricity).

Conclusion: The cost of preterm care is high and sub-optimal from a provider perspective. It is characterized by stockouts of drugs and supplies which are critical in the care that is required to boost the survival of preterm babies. Improving funding for preterm care may be helpful in enhancing preterm survival.