Direct Cost of Treating Acute Psychotic Episodes in Nnewi, South-East Nigeria

  • R Uwakwe
  • I Modebe
  • I Njelita
  • N Ezeama
Keywords: Bills, Health Services System, mental disorder, psychotropics

Abstract

Background: Major psychotic disorders such as the schizophrenias consume a high proportion of health budgets in developed countries. The economic implications of acute psychotic disorders in Nigeria have not been well documented.
Aim: To estimate the direct cost of treating patients with acute psychotic episodes in a mental health unit in Anambra State, Nigeria.
Methods: Forty one patients, 29 males (70.7%) with acute psychotic episode admitted between January and September 2006 in a small Private Psychiatric Clinic were assessed with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) at intake and on discharge. The cost of drugs, laboratory investigations and hospital services were estimated using the charges obtainable in nearby facilities.
Results: The 41 patients consumed over $11,000 during the admission period. Hospital bill constituted the highest cost (70.1%), especially professional charges (Nursing fees and Doctor’s fees which accounted for about a third of the entire costs). Patients on new generation antipsychotics tended to be discharged earlier than those on first generation drugs, but were more vulnerable to relapse.
Conclusion: The direct cost of treating acute psychotic episode in the present health service system is very high. Why avoiding “false economy,” there is need to develop cost effective treatment strategies for persons with acute mental disorders.
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eISSN: 1115-0521