This working paper will show that the cost of illness is not just output or income foregone due to the inability to continue working, it is also (and sometimes more importantly) the decline in household assets resulting from the need to meet the costs of treatment and medicines. For these reasons, illnesses cause families to spiral down into poverty, even if before they were generating a reasonably acceptable level of income. Finally, households do not seem to be able to plan for the event of illness, and therefore are unprepared for it when it occurs, despite the frequency of its occurrence.
Koestle, S. Rural Livelihoods and Illness: Case-studies in Tanzania and Malawi. (2002) 28 pp. [LADDER Working Paper No.19]