SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Expanded health care coud decrease impact of TB care cost in China

China is a close second to India in having the largest national TB burden.

A recent study published in the Infectious Diseases of Poverty journal shows that expanding universal health care could decrease the catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) for China's low-income tuberculosis (TB) patients.

The study, which was led by scientists at the China Centers for Disease Control, National Center for TB Control and Prevention, and Shandong University, included 747 TB patients. The analysts discovered a significant quantity of the households -- approximately 66.8 percent -- were affected by CHE. 

CHE is more frequent in poor households; 95 percent of poor households go through CHE, while just 43 percent of wealthy households do so.

The study used two common thresholds, which were 40 percent of non-food expenses and 10 percent of yearly household income. This left the researchers with the typical income that a household has after paying for basic necessities.

Extending universal health care could decrease how many people are adversely impacted by CHE, which is an out-of-pocket (OOP) health care expense that is more than a specific portion of a household’s income and can cause people to give up their basic necessities, including food, shelter and clothing.

TB patients typically make OOP payments for diagnosis, treatment and even non-medical expenses like transportation. This is especially important for China because it is a close second to India in having the largest national TB burden.

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