Financial protection analysis in eight countries in the WHO South-East Asia Region
A substantial number of people in South-East Asia experienced financial hardship due to out-of-pocket spending on health. The paper documents the financial protection status of eight countries of the WHO South-East Asian Region with the latest available data. Two indicators are calculated, the incidence of catastrophic health expenditure (indicator 3.8.2 of the sustainable development goals) and the impoverishing effect of households’ health-care spending, as defined in the joint World Health Organization and World Bank Global Monitoring reports.
The paper further investigates the main components of out-of-pocket spending both at national level and by quintiles of total household expenditure. It demonstrates that the key driver of out-of-pocket spending is spending on medicines. The study finds that out-of-pocket expenditure on medicines remains high in the region, even though many countries introduced policies to make medicines more available. This indicates that further action on the issue is needed to support progress towards universal health coverage.