Cost of malaria morbidity in Uganda

Nabyonga Orem Juliet, Muthuri Kirigia Joses, Azairwe Robert, Muheki Zikusooka Charlotte, Bataringaya Wavamunno Juliet, Ogwal Ogwang Peter


The high burden of malaria, among others, is a key challenge to both human and economic development in malaria endemic countries. The impact of malaria can be categorized from three dimensions, namely: health, social and economic. The economic dimension focuses on three types of effects, namely: direct, indirect and intangible effects which are felt at both macro and micro levels. The objective of this study was to estimate the costs of malaria morbidity in Uganda using the cost-of-illness approach. The study covered 4 districts, which were selected randomly after stratification by malaria endemicity into Hyper endemic (Kamuli and Mubende districts); Meso endemic (Mubende) and Hypo endemic (Kabale). A survey was undertaken to collect data on cost of illness at the household level while data on institutional costs was collected from the Ministry of Health and Development Partners. Our study revealed that: (i) in 2003, the Ugandan economy lost a total of about US$658,200,599 (US$24.8 per capita) due to 12,343,411 cases malaria; (ii) the total consisted of US$49,122,349 (7%) direct costs and US$ 609,078,209 (92%) indirect costs or productivity losses; (iv) the total malaria treatment-related spending was US$46,134,999; out of which 90% was incurred by households or individual; (v) only US$2,987,351 was spent on malaria prevention; out of which 81% was borne by MOH and development partners.  Malaria poses a heavy economic burden on households, which may expose them to financial catastrophe and impoverishment. This calls for the upholding of the no-user fees policy as well as increased investments in improving access to quality of health services and to proven community preventive interventions in order to further reduce the cost of illness borne by patients and their families.

Key words: Cost of illness, malaria, Uganda

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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