Understanding the economic impact of leishmaniasis on households in endemic countries: a systematic review

Temmy Sunyoto, Marleen Boelaert, Filip Meheus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview

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Introduction: Leishmaniasis is a poverty-related disease that causes a significant socioeconomic burden to affected households. Visceral leishmaniasis is fatal if untreated, yet illness costs may lead to delays in accessing care. Skin manifestations of leishmaniasis cause a psychological burden and even longer treatment trajectories. The objective of this review is to evaluate illness costs associated with leishmaniasis across different settings (Asia, Africa, and Latin America) and the consequences to households.

Areas covered: Through a systematic review of cost-of-illness studies, we documented the distribution of costs, the health-seeking behavior, and the consequences of leishmaniasis. We discuss the value of cost-of-illness studies for leishmaniasis.

Expert commentary: Despite the free provision of diagnostics and treatment in the public health care sector, out-of-pocket payments remain substantial. There has been progress in addressing the economic burden of leishmaniasis, particularly through the elimination initiative in the Indian subcontinent. Though the illness cost is decreasing due to shorter treatment regimens and better access to care, the situation remains challenging in Africa. Improvement of control tools is critical. There is a need to update cost estimates to inform policy-making and ensure sustainable solutions to reduce financial barriers to leishmaniasis care, especially in pursuing universal health coverage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Review of Anti-infective Therapy
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)57-69
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cost of Illness
  • Health Services Accessibility/economics
  • Humans
  • Leishmaniasis/economics
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral/economics
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Poverty
  • Public Health/economics
  • Socioeconomic Factors

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