The economic burden of pneumonia in children under five in Uganda

Elizabeth Ekirapa-Kiracho, Gatien De Broucker, Anthony Ssebagereka, Aloysius Mutebi, Rebecca Racheal Apolot, Bryan Patenaude, Dagna Constenla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There were about 138 million new episodes of pneumonia and 0.9 million deaths globally in 2015. In Uganda, pneumonia was the fourth leading cause of death in children under five years of age in 2017–18. However, the economic burden of pneumonia, particularly for households and caregivers, is poorly documented. Aim: To estimate the costs associated with an episode of pneumonia from the household, government, and societal perspectives. Methods: We selected 48 healthcare facilities from the public and private sector across all care levels (primary, secondary, and tertiary), based on the number of pneumonia episodes reported for 2015–16. Adult caregivers of children with pneumonia diagnosis at discharge were selected. Using an ingredient-based approach, we collected cost and utilization data from administrative databases, medical records, and patient caregiver surveys. Household costs included direct medical and non-medical costs, as well as indirect costs estimated through a human capital approach. All costs are presented in 2018 U.S. dollars. Results: The treatment of pneumonia puts a substantial economic burden on households. The average societal cost per episode of pneumonia across all sectors and types of visits was $42; hospitalized episodes costed an average of $62 per episode, while episodes only requiring ambulatory care was $16 per episode. Public healthcare facilities covered $12 and $7 on average per hospitalized or ambulatory episode, respectively. Caregivers using the public system faced lower out-of-pocket payments, evaluated at $17, than those who used private for-profit ($21) and not-for-profit ($50) for hospitalized care. For ambulatory care, out-of-pocket payments amounted to $8, $18, and $9 for public, private for-profit, and not-for-profit healthcare facilities, respectively. About 39% of households experienced catastrophic health expenditures due to out-of-pocket payments related to the treatment of pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100095
JournalVaccine: X
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Cost-of-illness
  • Economic benefit of immunization
  • Economic burden
  • Pneumonia
  • Uganda
  • Vaccine-preventable disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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