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Background: Healthcare financing as a lever to move closer to universal health coverage. Financing health care has been identified as a barrier to access to health care and increases the likelihood of impoverishment of households. There is still limited study and information on healthcare service utilization in the rural community of Nepal. Our study aims to assess utilization of healthcare services & patterns of healthcare expenditure in the rural households of Nepal.
Methods: A community-based research study was conducted among 341 rural households of Tanahun District, Nepal. A Chi-square test was used for assessing the associated factors with healthcare utilization.
Results: The utilization of in-patient and out-patient health services was 89.9 % and 10.1 % respectively. The majority of households (88%) had in USD less than $410 annual household healthcare expenditure. The mean annual healthcare expenditure was found to be $279. Nearly three-fourths (71.4%) of households had annual expenditure on medicine more than $40 with mostly on allopathic medicine (93.4%). The majority of participants (70%) mentioned that the healthcare expenditure was a burden to their household.
Conclusion: Despite the higher knowledge of health insurance, the involvement was found to be very low & poor. Educational status, knowledge about insurance, privileged ethnicity, religion, income source were the major factors associated with the utilization of healthcare services. Awareness & promotion programs focusing on rural communities should be implemented with affordable health services.
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