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FIRST SURVEY TO DETERMINE THE COST FOR THE TREATMENT OF TUBERCULOSIS LAUNCHED

The Report of a national survey to ascertain the cost incurred by persons diagnosed of tuberculosis (TB) and to determine the economic burden carried by the patients’ households in Ghana has been launched in Accra.


The findings of the survey reveal that the median cost that patients incurred per a TB episode is US$ 4455 which includes direct medical costs, direct non-medical cost and income loss while the largest cost drivers were income loss and expenditure on food.


According to Report, two-thirds of TB affected households face catastrophic costs due to the disease while half of TB patients undertake coping strategies to finance costs.


Those, according to the findings, more likely to face catastrophic costs are the poorest drug resistant patients, non-salaried employees and those who have lost their job.


The findings also show that the proportion of TB patients living in poverty before TB diagnosis was forty-six percent as compared to the twenty-four percent of the general Ghanaian poverty population—meaning poverty is a major barrier to health care and social determinants affecting TB care.


Addressing participants at the launch, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Ghana, Dr. Owen Kaluwa, described TB as the world’s biggest infectious killer.


Dr Kaluwa said regardless of  efforts  made by Ghana, with support from international partners, in the last decade, more than sixty percent of people living with TB  were left undiagnosed or unreported, killing women and children.


He indicated that WHO, during its 2014 General Assembly, had set out clear measures to ending TB by 2030.


Speaking on the findingsfor the first Ghana National TB Patients Cost Survey, Dr. Frank Bonsu,  Programme Coordinator, National TB Control Programme, disclosed that though it was said that the diagnosis and treatment of TB was free, TB patients often inured large costs related to illness and disability.


The costs, Dr Bonsu said, included medical and transport costs associated with seeking and receiving health care as well as cost related to loss of income.


He explained that such cost could create access and adherence barriers which, in turn, affected health outcomes and increased the risk of disease transmission.


Dr. Bonsu, however, gave the assurance that government was committed to the promotion of equity and pro-poor policies in its disease prevention and control activities, including TB prevention, care and control.


Ghana’s TB ambassador, Nana Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, expressed disappointment that the disease still prevailed in Ghanain spite of efforts to control it.


Nana Prah said a huge percentage of TB patients had crossed the cost line with twenty percent of their annual income going to the health care.


According to WHO statistics, at least five people become TB patient   while one person dies of the disease every day.


In 2017, ten million people were diagnosed of the disease last year, 1.7 million of whom lost their lives.


Source: ISD (Nana Ama Bonnah)