Dengue illness is costly for low-income families, but immunization can help reduce the economic burden

In a standardized survey of the costs of dengue illness in three highly endemic countries, the economic burden of dengue was greatest on Vietnamese and Colombian low-income families, whose total costs, including lost wages, outpatient and inpatient cases combined, average 36-45% of their monthly household income. In Thailand, although significant, the economic burden was 17% less than the other countries, due to Thailand’s universal health insurance system.

Hospitalization for pneumonia in children causes financial burdens for families beyond medical treatment

Three studies in Bangladesh and India found that the direct medical costs for children hospitalized with pneumonia were 27% to 116% of the average monthly income of households. And, while these costs represent a major portion of a family’s monthly income, they don’t include non-medical costs, such as transport and food costs, nor the lost wages of family members who miss work to care for the child.

Immunization can prevent costly hospitalizations for childhood pneumonia, saving money and improving health outcomes

In a global review of the costs of treating childhood pneumonia, the average costs of a hospitalized case of pneumonia in children under five years of age was US$243 in primary or secondary hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (ranging from US$40 – US$563) and US$559 in tertiary hospitals (ranging from US$20 – US$1,474). In high-income countries, the cost of hospitalized cases averaged US$2,800 in primary or secondary hospitals and more than US$7,000 in tertiary hospitals. Note that in most of these studies, only direct medical costs were included and thus total costs – including non-medical costs and lost wages – would be considerably higher.

Immunization can prevent families from facing financial hardship due to expensive medical treatments

Costs for treatment for rotavirus at a large urban hospital in Malaysia led one third of families to experience catastrophic health expenditures (CHC). When direct and indirect costs of treating rotavirus were considered, almost 9 in 10 families spent more than 10% of their monthly household income on treating rotavirus. In addition, 6% of families were pushed into poverty after paying for treatment.

Immunization helps protect low-income populations from financial burden and prevents diseases like measles and pneumonia

In a financial risk model analysis of 41 Gavi-eligible countries, the burden of Catastrophic Health Costs (CHC) and Medical Impoverishment (MI) would be greatest in the lowest income populations. With expanded vaccine coverage, the share of prevented cases of measles, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus, in relation to the total number of cases prevented, would be larger in the lowest income populations thereby providing a larger financial risk protection (FRP) to these populations.

Immunization can prevent medical debts and improverishment, particularly in the poorest populations

A study modeling the economic impact of 10 childhood immunizations in 41 low- and middle-income countries found that the bulk of poverty averted through vaccination occurs in poor populations. For most of the vaccines in the study, at least 40% of the poverty averted would occur in the poorest wealth quintile. Particularly for pneumonia, more than half of the two million deaths averted by pneumococcal and Hib vaccines would occur in the poorest 40% of the population.

Episodes of dengue can cause catastrophic health costs for households

In a 2002 study from Cambodia, households with a dengue patient had to borrow money at high interest rates and lose productive assets (land) to repay debts linked to healthcare costs. Public healthcare cost significantly less than private healthcare but was either not present where people lived or did not have a good reputation.

Childhood diarrheal disease imposes a heavy financial burden on healthcare and households, potentially leading to impoverishment

In Malawi, in 17% of cases where children were admitted to the hospital, and in 9% of cases where children were treated as outpatients for diarrhea, household costs associated with treating that episode, exceeded monthly income in a significant number of cases. The costs were significant enough to push families from each income level below the national poverty line for the month in which the illness occurred.