Dealing with the cost of illness: The experience of four villages in Lao PDR

Authors

  • Walaiporn Patcharanarumol,

    Corresponding author
    1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, UK
    2. International Health Policy Program (IHPP-Thailand), Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi Province, Thailand
    • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.
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    • Research Degree Student of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

  • Anne Mills,

    1. Department of Public Health and Policy, LSHTM London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
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  • Viroj Tangcharoensathien

    1. International Health Policy Program (IHPP-Thailand), Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi Province, Thailand
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Abstract

This paper analyses household coping strategies for illness in four Lao villages. The villagers dealt with health expenditure themselves, using coping mechanisms which drew mainly on social networks within the community. They strongly believed in the principle of paying user fees and did not consider exemption from fees an option. A total of 12 households (6 per cent of households) faced catastrophic expenditure arising from healthcare payments. The national policy on exemptions did not protect the poor and the study demonstrates that there is an urgent need for the government to improve the design and implementation of exemptions or reform the policy on subsidising health care. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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