Are we contented in achieving Universal Health Coverage in treating dengue patients in Sri Lanka?
Dengue infection is a major public health concern in Sri Lanka. An important cost for a patient with dengue fever is the out of pocket expenditure (OOPE), since insurance and employer support are very limited. To estimate the household costs and OOPE incurred due to dengue among adults who received institutional care at a selected hospital in Sri Lanka, a longitudinal study was conducted from July to December 2018. Fifty patients each from DF and DHF categories were recruited with systematic sampling. Details were obtained via an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Costs were presented using mean, standard deviation, median and inter-quartile ranges. Average household cost was US$127.69 (SD=93.32) and US$134.71 (SD=94.31) for DF and DHF patients, respectively. Among DF patients 98.03% of cost was borne using OOPE and among DHF patients it was 95.57%. In 2016, the average monthly income of a household in Colombo was US$571.82. Therefore nearly 25% of the monthly income had been spent on a single adult with dengue. If an adult member is hospitalized with
dengue the OOPE is high. Strengthening the dengue control programme is the key towards UHC.
Keywords: Dengue infection, household cost, out of pocket expenditure, Sri Lanka