Household cost of seeking malaria care. A retrospective study of two districts in Ghana
Although malaria or fever (as it is commonly referred to) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Ghana, the cost of treating the disease in the country has not been well documented. Knowledge about the cost of treating malaria can affect the health care seeking behaviour of people and justify increased expenditure for malaria control. This study used data collected from 1289 households in two districts in Ghana to estimate the direct and indirect costs of malaria treatment. Malaria was ascertained not by parasitological tests but through symptoms described by the respondents using a recall period of one month. It was found that substantial amount of time was spent in seeking malaria care and taking care of the sick, which makes the indirect cost per case of fever represent 79% of the total cost of seeking treatment in the survey area. The results provide ample economic justification for malaria control. The average cost of treating an episode of the disease including direct costs and the opportunity costs of travel and waiting time amounted to $8.67 or 3.7 days of male output or 4.7 days of female output. When compared with the average five days loss of output for the patient due to malaria morbidity and caretaking, it can be concluded that the cost of controlling malaria is lower than lost earnings or the value of output.
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Volume (Year): 45 (1997)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
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