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Economic Burden of COVID-19 in Bangladesh

During the past few months, the global community is facing significant challenges for novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern and finally declared a global pandemic. With a population of over 160 million, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The demographic structure is also changing rapidly in Bangladesh. As per the latest report, approximately 15% of the total population is in the age of 50 years or above (BBS 2019). Further, the trends of non-communicable diseases are increasing alarmingly in recent years which makes it vulnerable for COVID-19 among the south Asian countries. COVID-19 has a negative impact on people’s health and life and on economies around the world. Along with mortalities and morbidities, the COVID-19 pandemic affects mental health and well-being in a large scale. From an economic perspective, the spread of COVID-19, the ever-increasing number of patients and the complications of the disease have imposed significant direct medical and indirect costs on patients, the health system and the government. As far as the economic burden of direct medical costs is concerned, the costs vary with the number of the infected people, the severity of the disease, mean length of stay in the hospital, mean length of stay in the ICU, and other various factors. In most cases, COVID-19 is causing mild-to-moderate disease, whereas the mortality rate is markedly increased in the patients affected by severe disease. For patients with critical illness, the application of unaffordable respiratory supporting devices (i.e. ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) carries a high cost burden for households.  Therefore, the costs of COVID-19 treatment vary drastically across individuals, depending on age, severity of disease and comorbidity status. Critically-ill patients who received ICU services were accounted for the largest share of direct medical costs. The COVID-19 treatment is quite expensive in Bangladesh and becomes catastrophic particularly for those who receive treatments from private facilities than those of public facilities (Rahman, 2020). Further, income and productivity loss and the mandatory stay at home, work or even the death of the workforce due to COVID-19 eventually reduced the Gross Domestic Product. Given the pandemic of COVID-19, the economic burden of COVID-19 is essential to add value to the policy-making process. However, there is a paucity of studies aimed at quantifying the economic burden of COVID-19 from societal points of view (including household and providers perspective).

Objective of the Study: The main objective of this study is to estimate the economic burden of COVID-19 in Bangladesh. Examining the economic dimensions of the disease through this research will provide important evidence for making socioeconomic policies related to COVID-19 and similar epidemics. The specific objectives of the study are:

1) To find out the direct and indirect cost of treating the Covid-19 in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2) To estimate the economic burden of Covid-19 from societal perspective (i.e., both household and   hospital) in Bangladesh during the pandemic period

3) To find out the other factors (e.g. temperature, sanitation measures, knowledge of information, population density) liable for spreading COVID-19 in Bangladesh.

Principal Investigator/Study Director:  Dr. Abdur Razzaque Sarker

Division: Population Studies Division (PSD)

Funding Agency:  Health Economics Unit, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh

Duration March 2021 to August 2021

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