WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 238-246

Correlates of out-of-pocket spending on health in Nepal: implications for policy

Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Indrani Gupta
Health Policy Research Unit, Institute of Economic Growth, University Enclave, Delhi 110007
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206746

PMID: 28612808

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Background: A key objective of universal health coverage is to address inequities in the financial implications of health care. This paper examines the level and trend in out-of-pocket spending (OOPS) on health, and the consequent burden on Nepalese households. Methods: Using data from the Nepal Living Standard Survey for 1995–1996 and 2010–2011, the paper looks at the inequity of this burden and its changes over time; across ecological zones or belts, development regions, places of residence, or consumption expenditure quintiles; and according to the gender of the head of the household. Results: The average per capita OOPS on health in Nepal increased sevenfold in nominal terms between 1995–1996 and 2010–2011. The share of OOPS in household consumption expenditure also increased during the same period, primarily as a result of higher health spending by poorer households. Thirteen per cent of all households were found to incur catastrophic health expenses in 2010–2011. This proportion of households incurring such expenditure rose between the two time periods most sharply in the Terai belt, eastern region and poorest quintile. Conclusion: The health-financing system in Nepal has become regressive over the years, as the share of the bottom two quintiles in the total number of households facing catastrophic burden increased by 14% between the two periods.

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