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INTRODUCTION: there is a paucity of data on the financial implications of sickle cell disease on households of affected children and their use of health insurance in Nigeria. This study assessed the awareness of health insurance, patterns of health service utilization and financial implications of sickle cell disease among children seeking care at a tertiary facility in Nigeria. METHODS: a structured questionnaire was administered to parents of 314 children with sickle cell disease attending the pediatric hematology unit of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital between May and December 2019. RESULTS: mean age of the children was 91.5 ± 43.1 months. M: F was 1.17: 1. 45.5% of households earned above NGN 150,000 (USD 417) monthly. 71.3% of the parents had heard of health insurance but only 20.7% were enrolled in a health insurance scheme. Awareness of health insurance was significantly associated with social class (p=0.000) and monthly household income (p=0.000). 60.8% of the parents preferred pre-facility treatment. Social class (p=0.01) and monthly household income (p=0.001) were significantly associated with home treatment. Time on admission ranged from 2-18 days with an average of 4.31 days. Average cost of hospitalization was USD 148 ± USD 14.2 and total cost of care incurred was USD 20,787. Neither age of child (p=0.857), estimated household income (p=0.863) nor social class (p=0.397) was associated with cost of care. CONCLUSION: a high cost of care was observed in our study population underscoring the need for increased awareness and access to health insurance for households of children with sickle cell disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Pan Afr Med J

Publication Date





Children, Nigeria, cost, health insurance, sickle cell disease, Adolescent, Anemia, Sickle Cell, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Hospital Costs, Hospitalization, Hospitals, Teaching, Humans, Income, Infant, Insurance, Health, Male, Nigeria, Parents, Social Class, Socioeconomic Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires