Workshop on Household Survey Analysis and the Financial Burden of Health Payments, Barcelona, Spain, 5–7 March 2008

The Workshop was a joint endeavour of WHO headquarters and WHO/Europe and part of a series held with Member States around the world. Participants at the Barcelona Workshop came from Georgia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. All of them would be involved in estimating catastrophic health expenditure in their countries.

The participants were trained in the statistical methods required to analyse health expenditure data collected through household surveys. More specifically, techniques used to assess levels of catastrophic health expenditures were taught.

A growing number of countries are making estimates of catastrophic health expenditures within their health systems. Such analysis is fundamental to the health-system goal of financial protection, a centrepiece of WHO’s health system performance framework.

International evidence strongly suggests that high levels of out-of-pocket expenditure should be serious cause for concern, even without an in-depth analysis of survey data to determine catastrophic and impoverishing effects. WHO headquarters’ analysis of data on health spending from nearly 80 countries reveals a strong positive correlation between the share of out-of-pocket expenditure in the total, and the percentage of families facing catastrophic spending.