The economic burden of diarrhea in children under 5 years in Bangladesh

Md Zahid Hasan, Gazi Golam Mehdi, Gatien De Broucker, Sayem Ahmed, Md Wazed Ali, Jorge Martin Del Campo, Dagna Constenla, Bryan Patenaude, Md Jasim Uddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Diarrhea is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among under-five children in Bangladesh. Hospitalization for diarrhea can pose a significant burden on households and health systems. The aim of this study was to estimate the cost of illness due to diarrhea from the healthcare facility, caregiver, and societal perspectives in Bangladesh. Method: A cross-sectional study with an ingredient-based costing approach was conducted in 48 healthcare facilities in Bangladesh. In total, 899 caregivers of under-five children with diarrhea were interviewed face-to-face between August 2017 and May 2018, followed up over phone after 7–14 days of discharge, to capture all expenses and time costs related to the entire episode of diarrhea. Results: The average cost per episode for caregivers was US$62, with $29 direct and $34 indirect costs. From the societal perspective, average cost per episode of diarrhea was $71. In 2018, an estimated $79 million of economic costs were incurred for treating diarrhea in Bangladesh. Using 10% of income as threshold, over 46% of interviewed households faced catastrophic expenditure from diarrheal disease. Conclusion: The economic costs incurred by caregivers for treating per-episode of diarrhea was around 4% of the annual national gross domestic product per-capita. Investment in vaccination can help to reduce the prevalence of diarrheal diseases and avert this public health burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Bangladesh
  • Cost of illness
  • Diarrhea
  • Economic burden
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Vaccine-preventable disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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