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Utilisation of Formal Health Care and Out-of-Pocket Payments in Rural Bangladesh

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  • Syed M. Ahsan
  • Syed Abdul Hamid
  • Shubhasish Barua

Abstract

This paper provides an analysis of the utilisation of formal health care and out-ofpocket (OOP) payments in rural areas of Bangladesh. The broader focus of the investigation is to gauge how far Bangladesh has to traverse to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). We used the data from the baseline survey (conducted in diversifi ed geographical locations on about 4,000 households) of a longitudinal research project (entitled Microinsurance, Poverty and Vulnerability) of the Institute of Microfi nance (InM). The study fi nds that over 12-month period, only 40 per cent of the 6,352 sick individuals utilised formal health care. The poor and the children are the most deprived section in the utilisation. Out-of-pocket expenses per affected household during 12 months preceding the survey was BDT 4,686, which accounted for about 6 per cent of the total household expenditure. Drug, the single largest component of the OOP category, accounts for about 60 per cent of the direct OOP expenditure. The incidence of catastrophic expenditure was 15 per cent at the 10-per cent threshold level. In about 33 and 41 per cent of the cases, households needed to borrow or deplete assets for coping with inpatient care and catastrophic illnesses, respectively. Poor effective access to formal healthcare and high OOP expenditure indicate that Bangladesh has major challenges to overcome in achieving the universal health coverage. Membership in Grameen Kalyan micro health insurance scheme, essentially a discounted basic care package, has a significant association with the likelihood of using formal health care, though access to microcredit appear not to relieve households of the need to search for additional funds to cope with catastrophic events. An obvious suggestion is to introduce a risk-sharing mechanism (e.g., micro health insurance) to pool funds for the provision of health care in rural areas. Awareness building on the value of professional medical advice and measures targeted at effective regulation of the prices of essential drugs and restricting the sales of over-the-counter drugs are also put forward as elements of a sound public health policy framework.

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File URL: http://inm.org.bd/publication/workingpaper/workingpaper13.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Microfinance (InM) in its series Working Papers with number 13.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imb:wpaper:13

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Web page: http://www.inm.org.bd
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Related research

Keywords: Health care seeking behaviour; out-of-pocket payments; catastrophicillness; Bangladesh JEL Classification Number: G22; J44; I12; H51; H52; H53; and H75.;

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References

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  1. Gabriela Flores & Jaya Krishnakumar & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2008. "Coping with health-care costs: implications for the measurement of catastrophic expenditures and poverty," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(12), pages 1393-1412.
  2. Jennifer Roberts & Paul Mosley & Syed Abdul Hammid, 2010. "Evaluating the Health Effects of Micro Health Insurance Placement: Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Papers 2010009, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2010.
  3. Belli, Paolo & Gotsadze, George & Shahriari, Helen, 2004. "Out-of-pocket and informal payments in health sector: evidence from Georgia," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 109-123, October.
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  13. Yardim, Mahmut Saadi & Cilingiroglu, Nesrin & Yardim, Nazan, 2010. "Catastrophic health expenditure and impoverishment in Turkey," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 26-33, January.
  14. Somkotra, Tewarit & Lagrada, Leizel P., 2008. "Payments for health care and its effect on catastrophe and impoverishment: Experience from the transition to Universal Coverage in Thailand," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(12), pages 2027-2035, December.
  15. Adam Wagstaff & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2003. "Catastrophe and impoverishment in paying for health care: with applications to Vietnam 1993-1998," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(11), pages 921-933.
  16. Falkingham, Jane, 2004. "Poverty, out-of-pocket payments and access to health care: evidence from Tajikistan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 247-258, January.
  17. Hotchkiss, David Richards & Hutchinson, Paul Lawrence & Malaj, Altin & Berruti, Andres Alejandro, 2005. "Out-of-pocket payments and utilization of health care services in Albania: Evidence from three districts," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 18-39, December.
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