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DOTS in China: Removing barriers or moving barriers?
School of Public Health, Fudan University, China; Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden .
Brunel University, United Kingdom.
School of Public Health, Fudan University, China.
Mälardalen University, School of Business. Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; .ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0368-050X
2006 (English)In: Health Policy and Planning, ISSN 0268-1080, E-ISSN 1460-2237, Vol. 21, no 5, 365-72 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1992, China initiated its modern National TB Control Programme (NTP) with DOTS strategy through a project funded by a World Bank loan. Key motives for the revised NTP-DOTS were to reduce financial barriers to patients by removing fee charges for diagnosis and treatment, and to address regressive suppliers' incentives for appropriate referrals. This study aims to assess to what extent China's NTP subsidies are achieving the objective of removing financial barriers to care in terms of patients' expenditure. One county with NTP-DOTS - Jianhu - and one county without - Funing - were selected. A cohort of 493 tuberculosis patients newly diagnosed in 2002 was interviewed by questionnaire. The main outcome measure was tuberculosis patients' expenditure on medical care and transportation/accommodation from the onset of symptoms to treatment completion. During the follow-up period, Funing started implementing NTP-DOTS, which offered a possibility of longitudinal comparison both between counties and within county. Ninety-four per cent (465/493) of subjects were followed-up. The mean total patient's expenditure on TB medical care and transportation/accommodation before TB diagnosis was higher in Jianhu than in Funing (715 vs. 256CNY), whereas it was higher in Funing (835 vs. 157CNY) after diagnosis. After implementing NTP-DOTS in Funing, expenditure after diagnosis decreased slightly whereas expenditure before diagnosis increased remarkably. We found that the market incentive structures in the reformed health system appear to have a stronger regressive effect and may result in prolonged delays before effective treatment can be given. We believe that doctors adapt to new incentive structures, with bonus income being linked to the hospitals' fee-for-service revenue, and find new ways of keeping revenue at the old levels, which reduce or eliminate the intended effect of the subsidies. TB patients suffer a heavy economic burden even in counties where NTP-DOTS treatment is subsidized. The total patient expenditure was reduced only marginally, but shifted substantially from after diagnosis to before diagnosis. The shift could imply delays in diagnosis and treatment with an increased risk of infection transmission.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2006. Vol. 21, no 5, 365-72 p.
Keyword [en]
tuberculosis, health insurance, health financing, access, China, rural health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Care Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-11661DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czl019ISI: 000240626600004PubMedID: 16940302Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-33750115879OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-11661DiVA: diva2:394127
Projects
WHO/TDR
Available from: 2011-02-03 Created: 2011-02-01 Last updated: 2015-08-05Bibliographically approved

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