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Head injuries account for 650,000 annual deaths worldwide. The cost for treating head injury was estimated at US $200 million annually. This contributes to economic impoverishment in low income countries like Ethiopia. Hence, this study was aimed to assess the cost of Traumatic Head Injury (THI) and associated factors in the University of Gondar Specialized Referral Hospital.
An institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted from March 01 to May 30, 2017. A total of 387 THI patients were included in the study. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Direct costs and indirect costs were measured by using the bottom-up approach. Data were entered into Epi-Info version 7 and imported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Simple and multiple linear regression analysis were done to identify factors associated with cost of THI.
The mean cost of THI per patient was 4673.43 Ethiopian Birr (ETB), 95% CI (4523.6-4823.3), and length of hospital stay averaged 1.73, 95% CI (1.63–1.82). Direct non-medical cost, like transportation fee 1896.19 ETB (±762.56 SD) and medical costs 1101.66 ETB (±534.13 SD) were account for 40.57 and 23.58% of total costs respectively. The indirect cost, loss of income by patient and their attendant due to injury, was 1675.58 ETB (+ 459.26 SD). Patients with moderate and severe levels of injury have 635.167 ETB (Standardized coefficient = 0.173, p < 0.001) and 773.621 ETB (Standardized coefficient = 0. 132, p < 0.001) increased costs, respectively, compared to mild level THI patients. Costs for patients ages 31–45 years were 252.504 ETB (Standardized coefficient = − 0.066, p = 0.046) lower than costs for those 5–14 years old. The cost of THI patients increased by 1022.853 ETB for each additional day of hospital length of stay (Standardized coefficient = 0.648, p < 0.001).
Most expenses of the THI were from direct non-medical cost. Prior health service use, length of stay, level of injury, and age were significant predictors of cost of THI.