Original Research

Economic burden of malaria on rural households in Gwanda district, Zimbabwe

Resign Gunda, Shepherd Shamu, Moses J. Chimbari, Samson Mukaratirwa
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1317 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1317 | © 2017 Resign Gunda, Shepherd Shamu, Moses J. Chimbari, Samson Mukaratirwa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2016 | Published: 28 August 2017

About the author(s)

Resign Gunda, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Shepherd Shamu, Department of Community Medicine, Medical School, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Moses J. Chimbari, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Samson Mukaratirwa, School of Life Sciences,University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Background: Malaria is a serious public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality.
Aim: To estimate the economic burden of malaria in rural households.
Setting: The study was conducted in Gwanda district of Matabeleland South in Zimbabwe. A total of five malarious wards and all their households were selected for the study frame, out of which 80 households were chosen using clinic records.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of secondary data and a cross-sectional household survey were conducted to estimate the household economic burden of malaria. Eighty households from five rural wards were identified from the health facility malaria registers and followed up. A household was eligible for inclusion if there had been at least one reported malaria case during the period of 2013−2015. Interviewer administered questionnaires were used to collect household data on economic costs of malaria.
Results: Our findings showed that households spent an average of $3.22 and $56.60 for managing an uncomplicated and a complicated malaria episode respectively. A household lost an average of eight productive working days per each malaria episode resulting in an average loss of 24% of the monthly household income. An estimated 35%, mostly poorer households suffered catastrophic health expenditures.Conclusion: Malaria imposes significant economic burdens particularly on the poorer and vulnerable households. Although there are no user fees at rural clinics, households incur other costs to manage a malaria patient. These costs are far worse for complicated cases.


malaria; burden; economic costs; Gwanda; Zimbabwe


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