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Out-of-pocket healthcare expense rises

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 22 November, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The out-of-pocket expenses for treatment of people in Bangladesh have increased by 1.50 per cent from the previous record, according to research conducted by the Health Ministry.

Currently, a patient has to spend 68.50 per cent of the total treatment cost which was previously 67 per cent, the study revealed.

The Health Economics Unit of the Health Services division of the health and family welfare ministry disclosed the information at a program titled "Pathways to reduce household Out-of-Pocket expenditure" at Hotel InterContinental in the capital on Sunday.

The findings suggest that of the total Out of Pocket expenditure, patients spend 64 per cent on medicines, while 23 per cent goes for hospital expenses (both indoors and outdoors) and 8 per cent for diagnosis purposes. 

Mentioning that the Out of Pocket expenditure was reported 67 per cent, the study report said despite the strategy taken to reduce the expenditure by 32 per cent in 2032, it has increased to 68.50 per cent. 

Due to increasing the amount of the Out of Pocket expenditure, some 16.4 per cent of patients of the country refrain from seeking treatment, as per the study.

According to a study conducted by the health ministry in 2015, out of pocket expenditure (OOP) in Bangladesh was 67 percent of the total healthcare expenditure which has been increasing day by day. The out of pocket expenditure was 64 percent in 2012.

The Health Economic Unit of the health ministry recommended five points to help reduce the healthcare cost in the country, including the introduction of integrated e-health services in community clinics and upazila health complexes, increasing testing facilities and supplying adequate medicines.

Speaking at the programme, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the Out of Pocket expenditure of the country has increased due to non-communicable diseases like cancer, kidney, heart and diabetes.

Taking the situation under consideration, he said the government is setting up 15-storey cancer, kidney and liver treatment centres in eight divisional cities.

The construction of the hospitals is at the last stage. Several thousands of people will get treatment for non-communicable diseases in the hospitals free of cost, which will reduce the Out of Pocket expenditure.

"National budget allocation for the health sector is only 2.4 per cent of the GDP and it is quite lower compared to other countries. However, we spent Tk 30,000 crore for Covid-19 treatment," Zahid Maleque said.