Background Burns cases are frequent in Nigeria hospitals, however, literature on its economic burden and the association with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of women in Nigeria is scarce. This study determined the burden of hospitalization after burns on women’s economic status and its associated HRQOL.
Methods This was a three-month cross-sectional study of female patients ≥ 25 years, treated of mixed or full thickness burns in four teaching hospitals in south-east Nigeria, discharged between September-November, 2018. Study instruments were participants’ case notes for socio-demographic and disease history, interviewer-administered questionnaires, namely-economic-burden-of-burns questionnaire and English version of the EuroQol Five-Dimensions-Three-Level Health Questionnaire for Nigeria. Data were collected on second- or third-day post-discharge through home visits or phone calls. This lasted for thirteen weeks.
Results A total of seventy-three female patients with burn were successfully enrolled. Most participants were married, fairly educated, mainly traders or housewives. Thirty-four (46.6%) had subjective estimated family monthly income below NGN 50,000 (low economic status). Participants’ average monthly income reduced drastically after hospitalization. Their average family monthly income was NGN110,439 (USD307), while their average total expenses incurred during hospitalization was NGN691,093 (USD1,920). Almost all (93.2%) had at least one surgical intervention during management. Their average length of hospital stay was 35.4 days; eleven consequently lost their job. Many had moderate to severe economic burden of treatment; only eleven could bear all the treatment expenses independently. Women in the low economic class were more inclined to extreme anxiety/depression (p = .001) and pain/discomfort (p = .002) dimensions of HRQOL. Low and middle-class women had poorer health state on the EQ VAS scale than the high class.
Conclusion Burns places high level of economic burden on women and unfortunately, Nigerian government’s commitment to healthcare of burns patients is low. The long course of hospitalization and economic depletion impact negatively on the women’s HRQOL. Based on these findings, we recommend that government parastatals create special trust fund for burns treatment and the National Health Insurance Scheme be restructured for more accessibility.