JOURNAL ARTICLE

Examining geographic and socio-economic differences in outpatient and inpatient consumer expenditures for treating HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

Obinna E Onwujekwe, Ogochukwu Ibe, Kwasi Torpey, Stephanie Dada, Benjamin Uzochukwu, Olusola Sanwo
Journal of the International AIDS Society 2016, 19 (1): 20588
26838093

INTRODUCTION: The expenditures on treatment of HIV/AIDS to households were examined to quantify the magnitude of the economic burden of HIV/AIDS to different population groups in Nigeria. The information will also provide a basis for increased action towards a reduction of the economic burden on many households when accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART).

METHODS: A household survey was administered in three states, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom and Anambra, from the South-East, North-East and South-South zones of Nigeria, respectively. A pretested interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from a minimum sample of 1200 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV). Data were collected on the medical and non-medical expenditures that patients incurred to treat HIV/AIDS for their last treatment episode within three months of the interview date. The expenditures were for outpatient visits (OPV) and inpatient stays (IPS). The incidence of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) on ART treatment services was computed for OPV and IPS. Data were disaggregated by socio-economic status (SES) and geographic location of the households.

RESULTS: The average OPV expenditures incurred by patients per OPV for HIV/AIDS treatment was US$6.1 with variations across SES and urban-rural residence. More than 95% of the surveyed households spent money on transportation to a treatment facility and over 70% spent money on food for OPV. For medical expenditures, the urbanites paid more than rural dwellers. Many patients incurred CHE during outpatient and inpatient visits. Compared to urban dwellers, rural dwellers incurred more CHE for outpatient (p=0.02) and inpatient visits (p=0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment expenditures were quite high, inequitable and catastrophic in some instances, hence further jeopardizing the welfare of the households and the PLHIV. Strategically locating fully functional treatment centres to make them more accessible to PLHIV will largely reduce expenditures for travel and the need for food during visits. Additionally, financial risk-protection mechanisms such as treatment vouchers, reimbursement and health insurance that will significantly reduce the expenditures borne by PLHIV and their households in seeking ART should be implemented.

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