Medical cost of Lassa fever treatment in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Nigeria
This cross-sectional study sought to estimate the direct medical cost of Lassa fever treatment on patients in South-South Nigeria. All the 73 confirmed Lassa fever cases admitted in the isolation ward of the Institute Of Lassa Fever Research and Control, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) Irrua, in Edo State, Nigeria, between May 2015 and May 2016 were studied. A checklist was used to collect data on the socio-demographic characteristics and medical cost incurred by the patients. Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS version 20. The average total direct cost for Lassa fever treatment was N86,802.63 per patient for the subsidized treatment and N205,558.99 per patient for the unsubsidized treatment. Medications accounted for the highest unsubsidized payments (N86,929.55; 42.10%) while hospital care accounted for the highest cost component of he subsidized payments (N19,756.51; 22.76%). Up to 84.28% of medication and 70.8% of investigations was subsidized making a total of 57.77% subsidy in the average total payments per patient. For an average Nigerian, direct cost of treatment of Lassa fever is still expensive despite subsidy in medications and investigations. Therefore efforts geared towards reducing the economic burden of Lassa fever on patients and their families are advocated.
Keywords: Lassa fever, medical cost, poverty-reduction, South-South Nigeria