The economic burden of rotavirus hospitalization among children < 5 years of age in selected hospitals in Bangladesh
Rotavirus is a common cause of severe acute gastroenteritis among young children. Estimation of the economic burden would provide informed decision about investment on prevention strategies (e.g., vaccine and/or behavior change), which has been a potential policy discussion in Bangladesh for several years.
We estimated the societal costs of children <5 years for hospitalization from rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE) and incidences of catastrophic health expenditure. A total of 360 children with stool specimens positive for rotavirus were included in this study from 6 tertiary hospitals (3 public and 3 private). We interviewed the caregiver of the patient and hospital staff to collect cost from patient and health facility perspectives. We estimated the economic cost considering 2015 as the reference year.
The total societal per-patient costs to treat RVGE in the public hospital were 126 USD (95% CI: 116-136) and total household costs were 161 USD (95% CI: 145-177) in private facilities. Direct costs constituted 38.1% of total household costs. The out-of-pocket payments for RVGE hospitalization was 23% of monthly income and 76% of households faced catastrophic healthcare expenditures due to this expense. The estimated total annual household treatment cost for the country was 10 million USD.
A substantial economic burden of RVGE in Bangladesh was observed in this study. Any prevention of RVGE through cost-effective vaccination or/and behavioural change would contribute to substantial economic benefits to Bangladesh.