Catastrophic health expenditure among industrial workers in a large-scale industry in Nepal, 2017: A cross-sectional study

Prajjwal Pyakurel, Jaya Prasad Tripathy, Myo Minn Oo, Bijay Acharya, Ujjwal Pyakurel, Suman Bahadur Singh, Laxmi Subedi, Kamlesh Prasad Yadav, Mukesh Poudel, Dipesh Raj Pandey, Shyam Sundar Budhathoki, Guna Raj Lohani, Nilambar Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives The study aimed at estimating out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure, catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) and distress financing due to hospitalisation and outpatient care among industrial workers in Eastern Nepal. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study involving industrial workers employed in a large-scale industry in Eastern Nepal. Those who were hospitalised in the last 1 year or availed outpatient care within the last 30 days were administered a structured questionnaire to estimate the cost of illness. CHE was defined as expenditure more than 20% of annual household income. Distress financing was defined as borrowing money/loan or selling assets to cope with OOP expenditure on health. Results Of 1824 workers eligible for the study, 1405 (77%) were screened, of which 85 (6%) were hospitalised last year; 223 (16%) attended outpatient department last month. The median (IQR) OOP expenditure from hospitalisation and outpatient care was US124 (71-282) and US36 (19-61), respectively. Among those hospitalised, the prevalence of CHE and distress financing was found to be 13% and 42%, respectively, and due to outpatient care was 0.4% and 42%, respectively. Drugs and diagnostics account for a large share of direct costs in both public and private sectors. More than 80% sought hospitalisation and outpatient care in a private sector. Conclusion Industrial workers face significant financial risks due to ill health compared with the general population. Poor utilisation and higher cost of care in public health facilities warrant strengthening of public sector through increased government spending. The labour act 2014 of Nepal should be strictly adhered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere022002
JournalBMJ open
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • health economics
  • health policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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