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Free Content Economic costs of endemic non-filarial elephantiasis in Wolaita Zone, Ethiopia

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Summary Background 

Endemic non-filarial elephantiasis or podoconiosis is a chronic and debilitating geochemical disease occurring in individuals exposed to red clay soil derived from alkalic volcanic rock. It is a major public health problem in countries in tropical Africa, Central America and North India. Objective 

To estimate the direct and the average productivity cost attributable to podoconiosis, and to compare the average productivity time of podoconiosis patients with non-patients. Methods 

Matched comparative cross sectional survey involving 702 study subjects (patients and non-patients) supplemented by interviews with key informants in Wolaita Zone, southern Ethiopia. Results 

Total direct costs of podoconiosis amounted to the equivalent of US$ 143 per patient per year. The total productivity loss for a patient amounted to 45% of the total working days per year, causing a monetary loss equivalent to US$ 63. In Wolaita zone, the overall cost of podoconiosis exceeds US$ 16 million per year. Conclusions 

Podoconiosis has enormous economic impact in affected areas. Simple preventive measures (such as use of robust footwear) must be promoted by health policy makers.

Keywords: Ethiopia; direct cost; human capital approach; podoconiosis; prevalence-based model; productivity cost

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2006


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