IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/socmed/v43y1996i3p291-301.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Household strategies to cope with the economic costs of illness

Author

Listed:
  • Sauerborn, R.
  • Adams, A.
  • Hien, M.

Abstract

The authors examine the strategies rural households in Burkina Faso used to cope with the costs of illness in order to avert negative effects for household production and assets. They use information from 51 qualitative interviews, a household time allocation study and a household survey. Both surveys use the same sample of n = 566 households. The authors analyze these strategies along four dimensions: the type of behavior, the sequence in which strategies employed, the level at which strategies are negotiated, i.e. the household level, the non-household extended kin level or the community level, and finally the success of strategies in protecting household production and assets. A taxonomy of 11 distinct types of coping behavior is developed which have the effect of either avoiding costs by 'ignoring' disease, or of minimizing the impact of costs on the household once illness is perceived. Intra-household labor substitution was the main strategy to compensate for any labor lost to illness. However, labor substitution did not eliminate production losses in the majority of households struck with severe illness of a productive member. Only wealthy household were able to fully compensate labor losses by hiring labor or by investing in equipment to enhance productivity. Sales of livestock was the main strategy to cope with the financial costs of health care. None of the households studied fell into calamity. However, the households' ability to avert the loss of production and/or assets was very varied and depended on household size, composition and assets, on the type and duration of illness and on clustering of crises (e.g. several repetitive or simultaneous illnesses or concurrent seasonal stress). Coping with the costs of illness largely occurred at the level of the household. Inter-household transfers of resources played only a small role. The authors develop the concept of risk households and suggest several policies with the potential to strengthen the ability of households to cope with the economic costs of illness.

Suggested Citation

  • Sauerborn, R. & Adams, A. & Hien, M., 1996. "Household strategies to cope with the economic costs of illness," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 291-301, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:43:y:1996:i:3:p:291-301
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0277-9536(95)00375-4
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:43:y:1996:i:3:p:291-301. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.