How affordable is TB care? Findings from a nationwide TB patient cost survey in Ghana.

Pedrazzoli, D; Siroka, A; Boccia, D; Bonsu, F; Nartey, K; Houben, R; Borghi, J; (2018) How affordable is TB care? Findings from a nationwide TB patient cost survey in Ghana. Tropical medicine & international health. ISSN 1360-2276 DOI:

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Tuberculosis (TB) is known as a disease of the poor. Despite TB diagnosis and care usually being offered for free, TB patients can still face substantial costs, especially in the context of multi-drug resistance (MDR). The End TB Strategy calls for zero TB-affected families incurring "catastrophic" costs due to TB by 2025. This paper examines, by MDR status, the level and composition of costs incurred by TB-affected households during care seeking and treatment; assesses the affordability of TB care using catastrophic and impoverishment measures; and describes coping strategies used by TB-affected households to pay for TB care. A nationally representative survey of TB patients at public health facilities across Ghana. We enrolled 691 patients (66 MDR). The median expenditure for non-MDR TB was US$429.6 during treatment, vs. US$659.0 for MDR patients (p-value=0.001). Catastrophic costs affected 64.1% of patients. MDR patients were pushed significantly further over the threshold for catastrophic payments than DS patients. Payments for TB care led to a significant increase in the proportion of households in the study sample that live below the poverty line at the time of survey compared to pre-TB diagnosis. Over half of patients undertook coping strategies. TB patients in Ghana incur substantial costs, despite free diagnosis and treatment. High rates of catastrophic costs and coping strategies in both non-MDR and MDR patients show that new policies are urgently needed to ensure TB care is actually affordable for TB patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: TB Centre
PubMed ID: 29851223

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