Background:A high proportion of patients suffering from end stage liver disease are from low socioeconomic classes , which limits their access to liver transplantation as the most effctive treatment of this condition because of cost barrier.
Objectives:one of the most challenging aspects of liver transplantation is its affordability and utilization by those who need it the most.
Patients and Methods:Since November 2005, Iran Ministry of Health had covered 100% of the costs of in-patient liver transplantation care. To determine the effects of this policy, patterns of utilization of liver transplantation were compared before and after implementation of the policy. Group one included 112 and group two included 120 individuals who received transplantation before (from early January 2003 to November 2005) and after (from November 2005 to the end of December 2007) the legislation entered into the effect, respectively. Socioeconomic characteristics of these patients were evaluated by data collected about house and car ownership, education level, employment status, and place of residence.
Results:Coverage of the costs allowed more illiterate and semiliterate people (P = 0.032) as well as more unemployed or unskilled workers to receive transplantation (P = 0.021). The number of transplantations also increased in children and geriatric age group. This legislation also led to greater countrywide regional coverage of indigent patients.
Conclusions:This survey provides evidence that coverage of the costs by Ministry of Health was effective in reducing social discrimination in utilization of liver transplantation, and narrowed the gap between low and high socioeconomic classes in Iranian society.
Full text is available in PDF