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Inequity in the payment mechanism for healthcare systematically affects poorer households more than the rich. This article examines the impoverishing effect of healthcare expenditure on households in Yenagoa. Data was obtained from a cross-sectional survey of households in 2 communities in Yenagoa selected by simple random sampling. A pretested, structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on household (HH) income, general expenditures and financing for healthcare. Two international poverty lines designed by World Bank were employed to classify households as poor, extremely poor and to determine the impoverishing effects of households’ healthcare expenditures. Responses were received from 525 HHs with 9.2% of HHs falling below poverty line, another 9% pushed deeper into poverty after healthcare spending. A 12.3% and 16% increase in the poverty and extreme poverty gaps respectively were attributable to health payment. A significant percentage of households who were non-poor were pushed into poverty after healthcare spending. There is need for increased public spending and implementation of innovative pre-payment mechanisms and social insurance that assures financial-risk protection and equity in health financing in Yenagoa.
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