Investigating payment coping mechanisms used for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria to different socio-economic groups in Nigeria

Enyi Etiaba, Obinna Onwujekwe, Benjamin Uzochukwu, Alex Adjagba
African Health Sciences 2015, 15 (1): 42-8

BACKGROUND: Given the enormous economic burden of malaria in Nigeria and in sub-Saharan Africa, it is important to determine how different population groups cope with payment for malaria treatment. This paper provides new information about the differences in household coping mechanisms for expenditures on malaria treatment.

METHODS: The study was undertaken in two communities in Southeast Nigeria. A total of 200 exit interviews were conducted with patients and their care givers after consultation and treatment for malaria. The methods that were used to cope with payments for malaria treatment expenditures were determined. The coping mechanisms were disaggregated by socio-economic status (SES).

RESULTS: The average expenditure to treat malaria was $22.9, which was all incurred through out-of- pocket payments. Some households used more than one coping method but none reported using health insurance. It was found that use of household savings (79.5%) followed by reduction in other household expenses (22.5%) were the most common coping methods. The reduction of other household expenses was significantly more prevalent with the average (Q4) SES group (p<0.05). .

CONCLUSION: People used different coping strategies to take care of their malaria expenditures, which are mostly paid out-of-pocket. The average socio-economic household had to forego other basic household expenditures in order to cope with malaria illness; otherwise there were no other significant differences in the coping mechanisms across the different SES groups. This could be indicative of the catastrophic nature of malaria treatment expenditures. Interventions that will reduce the burden of malaria expenditures on all households, within the context of Universal Health Coverage are needed so as to decrease the economic burden of malaria on households.

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