Health‑Care Financing among Patients Admitted for Open‑Heart Surgery in Enugu
Background: Cardiovascular diseases have been noted to be expensive to manage and tend to cause significant morbidity and financial burden to affected individuals and households.
Objective: This study aimed to determine the various sources of health financing among patients admitted to UNTH Ituku/Ozalla for open-heart surgery.
Methodology: Twenty‑five patients admitted for cardiac surgery over a 6‑month period were selected for the study. A structured questionnaire was administered to the patients or their caregivers. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.
Results: There were 25 respondents who were admitted during the study period, this comprised 17 children and 8 adults. Among
the respondents 24 (96%) paid out of pocket, 1 (4%) was by government tax. The major sources of funds were from personal savings 56% and goodwill from friend’s relations, faith-based organizations (4%), while 36% of the respondents borrowed money for the surgery. Three of the respondents had a form of health insurance, while 22 (88%) had no form of health insurance. The mean monthly income of the households was 86,320 (81,384.7) Naira and the mean monthly food expenditure was 33,200 (15934.76) Naira. About 72% (18) of the subjects knew about the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), 4 (16%) knew about the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS), while 84% did not know about the VHIS. However, about 56% of the subjects were willing to enroll under the NHIS voluntary scheme. The cardiac surgery was catastrophic for 96% of the respondents.
Conclusion: Cardiac surgery causes a significant financial burden to individuals and households. Individuals and households should be properly counselled on the benefits of health insurance. The government should increase funding for cardiovascular health and strengthen the health insurance system.
Keywords: Cardiac surgery, cardiovascular disease, health financing