Economic burden of heart failure: investigating outpatient and inpatient costs in abeokuta, southwest Nigeria

Background: Heart failure (HF) is a deadly, disabling and often costly syndrome world-wide. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of data describing its economic impact in sub Saharan Africa; a region in which the number of relatively younger cases will inevitably rise. Methods: Heath economic data were extracted from a prospective HF registry in a tertiary hospital situated in Abeokuta, southwest Nigeria. Outpatient and inpatient costs were computed from a representative cohort of 239 HF cases including personnel, diagnostic and treatment resources used for their management over a 12-month period. Indirect costs were also calculated. The annual cost per person was then calculated. Results: Mean age of the cohort was 58.0±15.1 years and 53.1% were men. The total computed cost of care of HF in Abeokuta was 76, 288,845 Nigerian Naira (US$508, 595) translating to 319,200 Naira (US$2,128 US Dollars) per patient per year. The total cost of in-patient care (46% of total health care expenditure) was estimated as 34,996,477 Naira (about 301,230 US dollars). This comprised of 17,899,977 Naira- 50.9% ($US114,600) and 17,806,500 naira −49.1%($US118,710) for direct and in-direct costs respectively. Out-patient cost was estimated as 41,292,368 Naira ($US 275,282). The relatively high cost of outpatient care was largely due to cost of transportation for monthly follow up visits. Payments were mostly made through out-of-pocket spending. Conclusion: The economic burden of HF in Nigeria is particularly high considering, the relatively young age of affected cases, a minimum wage of 18,000 Naira ($US120) per month and considerable component of out-of-pocket spending for those affected. Health reforms designed to mitigate the individual to societal burden imposed by the syndrome are required.