Understanding the economic burden of illness for households can inform pro-poor health and social protection policy, yet research is in its infancy and appropriate methods require further debate. Quantitative studies are powerful when applied to the right health policy questions, including the measurement of illness cost burden indicators. However, this paper argues that not all dimensions of economic burden can be measured easily, some dimensions relevant to policy, such as social actors responses to illness and their strategies to cope with illness costs, cannot be reduced to quantitative indicators at all, and large-scale surveys may overlook context-specific processes operating at household level that influence peoples paths in and out of poverty as a result of illness.
Health Policy and Planning (2005) 20 (5) 277-89 [doi:10.1093/heapol/czi035]
Illuminating cases: understanding the economic burden of illness through case study household research
Published 12 September 2006