Economic impact on families with children with rheumatic heart disease at a referral hospital, Kenya
Myra Koech, Titus Ngeno
Journal Title:Basic Research Journal of Medicine and Clinical Science
Objectives: The commonest pediatric heart diseases in Africa, rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, occur due to conditions that exist with poverty. They also act to perpetuate poverty by disabling a significant percentage of the most productive members of the society, thus diminishing chances of economic progress. This paper set out to determine the financial implications on families whose children have rheumatic heart disease and possible solutions in the context of limited resources. Methods: This was a cross sectional study done at the pediatric cardiology clinic at the Moi teaching and referral hospital, Eldoret Kenya. All children attending the clinic between September 2011 and September 2012 with Rheumatic heart disease were eligible for the study. Results: Results; A total of 99 children with median age of 11 years were recruited. In the presiding year, 48% of them had been admitted a t least once and 40% of whom needed surgical intervention. The cost of one inpatient admission was the equivalent of 3 times the median monthly income of 60% of the families, while an outpatient visit needed 10% of this same income. None of the children who needed surgery had undergone due to financial constraints; a single mitral valve replacement would cost at least 10 times the family monthly income. Conclusion: For poor families with an erratic income flow, rheumatic heart disease is an extremely expensive disease, which they may have no capacity to finance out of pocket. Government subsidies and a national insurance fund may be an option for these children.
Keywords: Rheumatic fever/ rheumatic heart disease, familial economic impact, government subsidies.