The Financial Burden of Tuberculosis for Patients in the Western-Pacific Region

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2019 Jun 17;4(2):94. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed4020094.


The End Tuberculosis (TB) Strategy has the ambitious goal of ending the global TB epidemic by the year 2030, which is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. One of three high level indicators of the Strategy is the "catastrophic costs" indicator, which aims to determine the proportion of TB-affected households that incur TB-care related costs equivalent to 20% or more of their annual household income. The target is that zero percentage of TB-affected households will incur catastrophic costs related to TB care by the year 2020. In the Western Pacific Region of the World Health Organization, it is a priority to determine the financial burden of TB and then act to mitigate it. To date, eight countries in the Region have conducted nationally representative TB patient cost surveys to determine the costs of TB care. The results from four countries that have completed these surveys (i.e., Fiji, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) indicate that between 35% and 70% of TB patients face catastrophic costs related to their TB care. With these results in mind, significant additional efforts are needed to ensure financial risk protection for TB patients, expand Universal Health Coverage, and improve access to social protection interventions. A multi-sectoral approach is necessary to achieve this ambitious goal by the year 2020.

Keywords: Western Pacific Region; catastrophic costs; social protection; tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review