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      Emergency obstetric care in Mali: catastrophic spending and its impoverishing effects on households Translated title: Soins obstétricaux d'urgence au Mali: les dépenses catastrophiques et leurs effets appauvrissants sur les ménages Translated title: Atención obstétrica de urgencia en Malí: gastos catastróficos y sus efectos empobrecedores en los hogares

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          Abstract

          OBJECTIVE: To investigate the frequency of catastrophic expenditures for emergency obstetric care, explore its risk factors, and assess the effect of these expenditures on households in the Kayes region, Mali. METHODS: Data on 484 obstetric emergencies (242 deaths and 242 near-misses) were collected in 2008-2011. Catastrophic expenditure for emergency obstetric care was assessed at different thresholds and its associated factors were explored through logistic regression. A survey was subsequently administered in a nested sample of 56 households to determine how the catastrophic expenditure had affected them. FINDINGS: Despite the fee exemption policy for Caesareans and the maternity referral-system, designed to reduce the financial burden of emergency obstetric care, average expenses were 152 United States dollars (equivalent to 71 535 Communauté Financière Africaine francs) and 20.7 to 53.5% of households incurred catastrophic expenditures. High expenditure for emergency obstetric care forced 44.6% of the households to reduce their food consumption and 23.2% were still indebted 10 months to two and a half years later. Living in remote rural areas was associated with the risk of catastrophic spending, which shows the referral system's inability to eliminate financial obstacles for remote households. Women who underwent Caesareans continued to incur catastrophic expenses, especially when prescribed drugs not included in the government-provided Caesarean kits. CONCLUSION: The poor accessibility and affordability of emergency obstetric care has consequences beyond maternal deaths. Providing drugs free of charge and moving to a more sustainable, nationally-funded referral system would reduce catastrophic expenses for households during obstetric emergencies.

          Translated abstract

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          Translated abstract

          <img src="/img/revistas/bwho/v91n3/a12res03.jpg">

          Translated abstract

          OBJECTIF: Étudier la fréquence des dépenses catastrophiques en soins obstétricaux d'urgence, explorer leurs facteurs de risque et évaluer l'effet de ces dépenses sur les ménages dans la région de Kayes, au Mali. MÉTHODES: Les données de 484 urgences obstétricales (242 décès et 242 accidents évités de justesse) ont été recueillies sur la période 2008-2011. Les dépenses catastrophiques en soins obstétricaux d'urgence ont été évaluées à différents niveaux, et leurs facteurs associés ont été étudiés par régression logistique. Une enquête a ensuite été effectuée auprès d'un échantillon imbriqué de 56 ménages, afin de déterminer comment les dépenses catastrophiques les avaient affectés. RÉSULTATS: Malgré la politique d'exonération de frais pour les césariennes et le système de maternité de référence, conçu pour réduire la charge financière des soins obstétricaux d'urgence, les dépenses moyennes étaient de 152 dollars des États-Unis (équivalent à 71 535 francs de la Communauté financière africaine), et 20,7 à 53,5% des ménages faisaient face à des dépenses catastrophiques. Des dépenses élevées pour les soins obstétricaux d'urgence ont forcé 44,6% des ménages à réduire leur consommation alimentaire, et 23,2% d'entre eux étaient encore endettés, dix mois à deux ans et demi plus tard. Vivre dans des zones rurales reculées était associé au risque de dépenses catastrophiques, ce qui montre que le système de référence ne peut éliminer les obstacles financiers pour les ménages éloignés. Les femmes ayant subi une césarienne ont continué à faire face à des dépenses catastrophiques, en particulier lorsque les médicaments prescrits n'étaient pas inclus dans les kits de césarienne fournis par le gouvernement. CONCLUSION: Le fait que les soins obstétricaux d'urgence soient difficilement accessibles et peu abordables a des conséquences au-delà des décès maternels. Fournir gratuitement des médicaments et passer à un système de référence plus durable, financé au niveau national, permettrait de réduire les dépenses catastrophiques pour les ménages en situation d'urgence obstétricale.

          Translated abstract

          <img src="/img/revistas/bwho/v91n3/a12res01.jpg">

          Translated abstract

          OBJETIVO: Investigar la frecuencia de los gastos catastróficos en la atención obstétrica de urgencia, examinar los factores de riesgo y evaluar el efecto de dichos gastos en los hogares de la región de Kayes en Malí. MÉTODOS: Se recogieron los datos de 484 situaciones obstétricas de urgencia (242 fallecimientos y 242 errores evitados) entre 2008 y 2011. El gasto catastrófico de la atención obstétrica de urgencia se evaluó en umbrales diferentes y los factores relacionados se examinaron por medio de una regresión logística. Posteriormente, se realizó una encuesta en una muestra jerarquizada de 56 hogares a fin de determinar los efectos de dicho gasto catastrófico. RESULTADOS: A pesar de la política de exención de pago para las cesáreas y el sistema de derivación para la atención de maternidad, diseñado para reducir la carga financiera de la atención obstétrica de urgencia, el gasto medio fue de 152 dólares estadounidenses (71 535 francos CFA) y del 20,7 al 53,5% de los hogares incurrieron en gastos catastróficos. El gasto elevado de la atención obstétrica de urgencia obligó al 44,6% de los hogares a reducir su consumo de alimentos, y el 23,2% seguía endeudado entre 10 meses y dos años y medio más tarde. Vivir en un área rural remota estuvo asociado con el riesgo de gasto catastrófico, lo que muestra la incapacidad del sistema de derivación de eliminar los obstáculos financieros para los hogares de zonas remotas. Las mujeres que se sometieron a una cesárea continuaron acumulando gastos catastróficos, en particular en los casos en los que se prescribieron medicamentos no incluidos en los botiquines para cesáreas proporcionados por el gobierno. CONCLUSIÓN: La mala accesibilidad y asequibilidad de la atención obstétrica de urgencia tiene consecuencias más allá de las muertes maternas. Suministrar medicamentos gratuitos y el cambio a un sistema de derivación financiado a nivel nacional y más sostenible reduciría los gastos catastróficos de los hogares en los casos de emergencias obstétricas.

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          Most cited references47

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          Coping with out-of-pocket health payments: empirical evidence from 15 African countries

          OBJECTIVE: To explore factors associated with household coping behaviours in the face of health expenditures in 15 African countries and provide evidence for policy-makers in designing financial health protection mechanisms. METHODS: A series of logit regressions were performed to explore factors correlating with a greater likelihood of selling assets, borrowing or both to finance health care. The average partial effects for different levels of spending on inpatient care were derived by computing the partial effects for each observation and taking the average across the sample. Data used in the analysis were from the 2002-2003 World Health Survey, which asked how households had financed out-of-pocket payments over the previous year. Households selling assets or borrowing money were compared to those that financed health care from income or savings. Those that used insurance were excluded. For the analysis, a value of 1 was assigned to selling assets or borrowing money and a value of 0 to other coping mechanisms. FINDINGS: Coping through borrowing and selling assets ranged from 23% of households in Zambia to 68% in Burkina Faso. In general, the highest income groups were less likely to borrow and sell assets, but coping mechanisms did not differ strongly among lower income quintiles. Households with higher inpatient expenses were significantly more likely to borrow and deplete assets compared to those financing outpatient care or routine medical expenses, except in Burkina Faso, Namibia and Swaziland. In eight countries, the coefficient on the highest quintile of inpatient spending had a P-value below 0.01. CONCLUSION: In most African countries, the health financing system is too weak to protect households from health shocks. Borrowing and selling assets to finance health care are common. Formal prepayment schemes could benefit many households, and an overall social protection network could help to mitigate the long-term effects of ill health on household well-being and support poverty reduction.
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            Coping with health-care costs: implications for the measurement of catastrophic expenditures and poverty.

            In the absence of formal health insurance, we argue that the strategies households adopt to finance health care have important implications for the measurement and interpretation of how health payments impact on consumption and poverty. Given data on source of finance, we propose to (a) approximate the relative impact of health payments on current consumption with a 'coping'-adjusted health expenditure ratio, (b) uncover poverty that is 'hidden' because total household expenditure is inflated by financial coping strategies and (c) identify poverty that is 'transient' because necessary consumption is temporarily sacrificed to pay for health care. Measures that ignore coping strategies not only overstate the risk to current consumption and exaggerate the scale of catastrophic payments but also overlook the long-run burden of health payments. Nationally representative data from India reveal that coping strategies finance as much as three-quarters of the cost of inpatient care. Payments for inpatient care exceed 10% of total household expenditure for around 30% of hospitalized households but less than 4% sacrifice more than 10% of current consumption to accommodate this spending.Ignoring health payments leads to underestimate poverty by 7-8% points among hospitalized households; 80% of this adjustment is hidden poverty due to coping.
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              Understanding the impact of eliminating user fees: utilization and catastrophic health expenditures in Uganda.

              There is currently considerable discussion between governments, international agencies, bilateral donors and advocacy groups on whether user fees levied at government health facilities in poor countries should be abolished. It is claimed that this would lead to greater access for the poor and reduce the risks of catastrophic health expenditures if all other factors remained constant, though other factors rarely remain constant in practice. Accordingly, it is important to understand what has actually happened when user fees have been abolished, and why. All fees at first level government health facilities in Uganda were removed in March 2001. This study explores the impact on health service utilization and catastrophic health expenditures using data from National Household Surveys undertaken in 1997, 2000 and 2003. Utilization increased for the non-poor, but at a lower rate than it had in the period immediately before fees were abolished. Utilization among the poor increased much more rapidly after the abolition of fees than beforehand. Unexpectedly, the incidence of catastrophic health expenditure among the poor did not fall. The most likely explanation is that frequent unavailability of drugs at government facilities after 2001 forced patients to purchase from private pharmacies. Informal payments to health workers may also have increased to offset the lost revenue from fees. Countries thinking of removing user charges should first examine what types of activities and inputs at the facility level are funded from the revenue collected by fees, and then develop mechanisms to ensure that these activities can be sustained subsequently.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
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                Role: ND
                Journal
                bwho
                Bulletin of the World Health Organization
                Bull World Health Organ
                World Health Organization (Genebra )
                0042-9686
                March 2013
                : 91
                : 3
                : 207-216
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Centre de recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Canada
                [2 ] CARE International
                [3 ] Université de Bamako Mali
                [4 ] L'Institut de recherche pour le développement Benin
                Article
                S0042-96862013000300012
                10.2471/BLT.12.108969
                3590618
                23476093
                e54b4486-8fd3-4993-9c5b-0d8bd6915712

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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                SciELO Public Health

                Self URI (journal page): http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=0042-9686&lng=en
                Categories
                Health Policy & Services

                Public health
                Public health

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