Costs of dental care and its financial impacts on patients in a population with low availability of services

Nyamuryekung’e Kasusu Klint Lahti Satu Tuominen Risto

Costs of dental care and its financial impacts on patients in a population with low availability of services

Authors: Nyamuryekung’e Kasusu Klint Lahti Satu Tuominen Risto
doi: 10.1922/CDH_4389Nyamuryekung’e06

Abstract

Objectives: To determine the direct and indirect costs of accessing and utilizing dental services in Tanzania and the proportion of patients experiencing economic burden due to treatment costs. Basic research design: Survey of 489 dental patients utilizing an out-of-pocket payment modality was carried out in four regional hospitals. Direct and indirect costs for service utilization were calculated. Financial expenditures were used to assess significant financial impacts of utilization of dental services on household economies. Results: Direct costs comprised 80% of the total treatment costs, whereas indirect costs comprised 20%. About half of the patients experienced significant financial impacts as a result of their utilization of dental services. Proportionately more patients from low-income households (92.2%) experienced significant financial impacts. Most patients attended the clinics due to toothache and the most widely expected treatment was dental extraction. Only 7.1% of the patients received a filling. The costs for dental restorations were three-times those for tooth extraction. Conclusions: Dental service utilization leads to significant financial impacts on many of the households in this setting. Increasing the rate of prepayment for health services and reducing income inequality may help to mitigate these impacts. Keywords: healthcare costs, dental utilization

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