Malnutrition and the Risk of Catastrophic Health Expenditure in Nigeria

  •  Ryoko Sato    


BACKGROUND: Malnutrition among children not only affects their health consequences but also does it burden their households’ finance especially in developing countries. This study evaluates the household risk of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) due to malnutrition treatments among malnourished children in Nigeria, according to zones and wealth quintiles. We simulate the CHE risk among households with malnourished children who seek treatment. 

METHODS: The CHE risk due to malnutrition among treated was computed based on 1) the out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure and indirect costs associated with malnutrition treatment, and 2) household consumption expenditures. I derived the CHE risk associated with malnutrition across zones and wealth quintiles in Nigeria, using secondary data sources for healthcare utilization, OOP expenditures, and consumption expenditures.

RESULTS: There was a large variation of CHE risk according to zones and wealth quintiles. Among the poorest households, those in northeast and northwest would have the highest risk of CHE, up to 59 and 47%, while those in southwest would have the lowest risk of 14%. For all zones, as the wealth increases, the CHE risk would decrease. There would be zero or very little CHE risk among the richest households in any zones.

INTERPRETATION: Nutrition interventions will help malnourished children improve their health status. However, we should also be wary about the financial consequences of the treatment that households should bear.

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