Financial risk of road traffic trauma care in public and private hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: a cross-sectional observational study

Background: Road traffic injuries are among the most important causes of morbidity and mortality and cause substantial economic loss to households in Ethiopia. This study estimates the financial risks of seeking trauma care due to road traffic injuries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey on out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures related to trauma care in three public and one private hospital in Addis Ababa from December 2018 to February 2019. Direct medical and non-medical costs (2018 USD) were collected from 452 trauma cases. Catastrophic health expenditures were defined as OOP health expenditures of 10% or more of total household expenditures. Additionally, we investigated the impoverishment effect of OOP expenditures using the international poverty line of $1.90 per day per person (adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity).

Results: Trauma care seeking after road traffic injuries generate catastrophic health expenditures for 67% of households and push 24% of households below the international poverty line. On average, the medical OOP expenditures per patient seeking care were $256 for outpatient visits and $690 for inpatient visits per road traffic injury. Patients paid more for trauma care in private hospitals, and OOP expenditures were six times higher in private than in public hospitals. Transport to facilities and caregiver costs were the two major cost drivers, amounting to $96 and $68 per patient, respectively.

Conclusion: Seeking trauma care after a road traffic injury poses a substantial financial threat to Ethiopian households due to lack of strong financial risk protection mechanisms. Ethiopia’s government should enact multisectoral interventions for increasing the prevention of road traffic injuries and implement universal public finance of trauma care.

The True Costs of Cesarean Sections for Patients in Rural Rwanda: Accounting for Post-Discharge Expenses in Estimated Health Expenditures

Introduction: While it is recognized that there are costs associated with postoperative patient follow-up, risk assessments of catastrophic health expenditures (CHEs) due to surgery in sub-Saharan Africa rarely include expenses after discharge. We describe patient-level costs for cesarean section (c-section) and follow-up care up to postoperative day (POD) 30 and evaluate the contribution of follow-up to CHEs in rural Rwanda.

Methods: We interviewed women who delivered via c-section at Kirehe District Hospital between September 2019 and February 2020. Expenditure details were captured on an adapted surgical indicator financial survey tool and extracted from the hospital billing system. CHE was defined as health expenditure of ≥ 10% of annual household expenditure. We report the cost of c-section up to 30 days after discharge, the rate of CHE among c-section patients stratified by in-hospital costs and post-discharge follow-up costs, and the main contributors to c-section follow-up costs.

Results: Of the 479 participants in this study, 90% were classified as impoverished before surgery and an additional 6.4% were impoverished by the c-section. The median out-of-pocket costs up to POD30 was US$122.16 (IQR: $102.94, $148.11); 63% of these expenditures were attributed to post-discharge expenses or lost opportunity costs (US$77.50; IQR: $67.70, $95.60). To afford c-section care, 64.4% borrowed money and 18.4% sold possessions. The CHE rate was 27% when only considering direct and indirect costs up to the time of discharge and 77% when including the reported expenses up to POD30. Transportation and lost household wages were the largest contributors to post-discharge costs.

Conclusion: Costs associated with surgical follow-up are often neglected in financial risk calculations but contribute significantly to the risk of CHE in rural Rwanda. Insurance coverage for direct medical costs is insufficient to protect against CHE. Innovative follow-up solutions to reduce costs of patient transport and compensate for household lost wages need to be considered.

Economic Impact of surgery on households and individuals in low income countries: A systematic review

Background
Surgical disease in Low Income Countries (LIC) is common, and overall provision of surgical care is poor. A key component of surgical health systems as part of universal health coverage (UHC) is financial risk protection (FRP) – the need to protect individuals from financial hardship due to accessing healthcare. We performed a systematic review to amalgamate current understanding of the economic impact of surgery on the individual and household. Our study was registered on Research registry (www.researchregistry.com).

Methods
We searched Pubmed and Medline for articles addressing economic aspects of surgical disease/care in low income countries. Data analysis was descriptive in light of a wide range of methodologies and reporting measures. Quality assessment and risk of bias analysis was performed using study design specific Joanna-Briggs Institute checklists. This study has been reported in line with PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and AMSTAR (Assessing the methodological quality of systematic reviews) Guidelines.

Results
31 full text papers were identified for inclusion; 22 descriptive cross-sectional studies, 4 qualitative studies and 5 economic analysis studies of varying quality. Direct medical, direct non-medical and indirect costs were variably reported but were substantial, resulting in catastrophic expenditure. Costs had far reaching economic impacts on individuals and households, who used entire savings, took out loans, reduced essential expenditure and removed children from school to meet costs.

Conclusion
Seeking healthcare for surgical disease is economically devastating for individuals and households in LICs. Policies directed at strengthening surgical health systems must seek ways to reduce financial hardship on individuals and households from both direct and indirect costs and these should be monitored and measured using defined instruments from the patient perspectiv

Risk of Catastrophic Health Expenditure in Rwandan Surgical Patients with Peritonitis.

Background
Surgical procedures are cost-effective compared with various medical and public health interventions. While peritonitis often requires surgery, little is known regarding the associated costs, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of this study was to determine in-hospital charges for patients with peritonitis and if patients are at risk of catastrophic health expenditure.

Methods
As part of a larger study examining the epidemiology and outcomes of patients with peritonitis at a referral hospital in Rwanda, patients undergoing operation for peritonitis were enrolled and hospital charges were examined. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients at risk for catastrophic health expenditure. Logistic regression was used to determine the association of various factors with risk for catastrophic health expenditure.

Results
Over a 6-month period, 280 patients underwent operation for peritonitis. In-hospital charges were available for 245 patients. A total of 240 (98%) patients had health insurance. Median total hospital charges were 308.1 USD, and the median amount paid by patients was 26.9 USD. Thirty-three (14%) patients were at risk of catastrophic health expenditure based on direct medical expenses. Estimating out-of-pocket non-medical expenses, 68 (28%) patients were at risk of catastrophic health expenditure. Unplanned reoperation was associated with increased risk of catastrophic health expenditure (p < 0.001), whereas patients with community-based health insurance had decreased risk of catastrophic health expenditure (p < 0.001).

Conclusions
The median hospital charges paid out-of-pocket by patients with health insurance were small in relation to total charges. A significant number of patients with peritonitis are at risk of catastrophic health expenditure.