Exploring Household Economic Impacts of Childhood Diarrheal Illnesses in 3 African Settings
CLINICAL INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Florida State University System, GlaxoSmithKline, University of Florida, University of Maryland Baltimore, University System of Maryland, Ctr Dis Control & Prevent KEMRI CDC, Ctr Vaccine Dev Mali, Kenya Govt Med Res Ctr, US Ctr Dis Control & Prevent
Beyond the morbidity and mortality burden of childhood diarrhea in sub-Saharan African are significant economic costs to affected households. Using survey data from 3 of the 4 sites in sub-Saharan Africa (Gambia, Kenya, Mali) participating in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), we estimated the direct medical, direct nonmedical, and indirect (productivity losses) costs borne by households due to diarrhea in young children. Mean cost per episode was $2.63 in Gambia, $6.24 in Kenya, and $4.11 in Mali. Direct medical costs accounted for less than half of these costs. Mean costs understate the distribution of costs, with 10% of cases exceeding $6.50, $11.05, and $13.84 in Gambia, Kenya, and Mali. In all countries there was a trend toward lower costs among poorer households and in 2 of the countries for diarrheal illness affecting girls. For poor children and girls, this may reflect reduced household investment in care, which may result in increased risks of mortality.