BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2022 Aug 4;22(1):613. doi: 10.1186/s12884-022-04947-x.
BACKGROUND: Out-of-pocket payment (OOPP) is reported to be a major barrier to seeking maternal health care especially among the poor and can expose households to a risk of catastrophic expenditure and impoverishment.This study examined the OOPPs women made during childbirth in the Upper West region of Ghana.
METHODS: We carried out a cross-sectional study and interviewed women who gave birth between January 2013 and December 2017. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, place of childbirth, as well as direct cost (medical and non-medical) were collected from respondents. The costs of childbirth were estimated from the patient perspective. Logistics regression was used to assess the factors associated with catastrophic payments cost. All analyses were done using STATA 16.0.
RESULTS: Out of the 574 women interviewed, about 71% (406/574) reported OOPPs on their childbirth. The overall average direct medical and non-medical expenditure women made on childbirth was USD 7.5. Cost of drugs (USD 8.0) and informal payments (UDD 5.7) were the main cost drivers for medical and non-medical costs respectively. Women who were enrolled into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) spent a little less (USD 7.5) than the uninsured women (USD 7.9). Also, household childbirth expenditure increased from primary health facilities level (community-based health planning and services compound = USD7.2; health centre = USD 6.0) to secondary health facilities level (hospital = USD11.0); while home childbirth was USD 4.8. Overall, at a 10% threshold, 21% of the respondents incurred catastrophic health expenditure. Regression analysis showed that place of childbirth and household wealth were statistically significant factors associated with catastrophic payment.
CONCLUSIONS: The costs of childbirth were considerably high with a fifth of households spending more than one-tenth of their monthly income on childbirth and therefore faced the risk of catastrophic payments and impoverishment. Given the positive effect of NHIS on cost of childbirth, there is a need to intensify efforts to improve enrolment to reduce direct medical costs as well as sensitization and monitoring to reduce informal payment. Also, the identified factors that influence cost of childbirth should be considered in strategies to reduce cost of childbirth.