Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Economic Vulnerability of Methadone Maintenance Patients: Implications for Policies on Co-Payment Services

Co-payment for methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) services is a strategy to ensure the financial sustainability of the HIV/AIDS programs in Vietnam. In this study, we examined health services utilization and expenditure among MMT patients, and further explored factors associated with catastrophic health expenditure among affected households.

A multi-site cross-sectional study was conducted among 1,016 patients in two epicentres: Hanoi and Nam Dinh province in 2013.

Overall, 8.2% and 28.7% respondents used inpatient and outpatient health care services in the past 12 months apart from receiving MMT. There were 12.8% respondents experiencing catastrophic health expenditure given MMT is provided free-of-charge, otherwise 63.5% patients would suffer from health care costs. MMT integrated with general health or HIV services may encourage health care services utilization of patients. Patients, who were single, lived in the rural, had inpatient care and reported problems in Mobility were more likely to experience catastrophic health expenditure than other patient groups.

The health care costs are still financially burden to many drug users and remained over the course of MMT that implies the necessity of continuous supports from the program. Scaling-up and decentralizing integrated MMT clinics together with economic empowerments for treated drug users and their families should be prioritized in Vietnam.

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Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America
Corresponding Lecturer in Health Economics Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam Bloomberg School of Public Health Johns Hopkins University, USA. +84-982228662.

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