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BackgroundRapidly increasing healthcare costs and the growing burden of non-communicable diseases have increased the out-of-pocket (OOP) spending (63.3% of total health expenditure) in Bangladesh. This increasing OOP spending for healthcare has catastrophic economic impact on households. To reduce this burden, the Health Economics Unit (HEU) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has developed the Shasthyo Surokhsha Karmasuchi (SSK) health protection scheme for the below-poverty line (BPL) population. The key actors in the scheme are HEU, contracted scheme operator and hospital. Under this scheme, each enrolled household is provided 50,000 BDT (620 USD) coverage per year for healthcare services against a government financed premium of 1000 BDT (12 USD). This initiative faces some challenges e.g., delays in scheme activities, registering the targeted population, low utilization of services, lack of motivation of the providers, and management related difficulties. It is also important to estimate the financial requirement for nationwide scale-up of this project. We aim to identify these implementation-related challenges and provide feedback to the project personnel.MethodsThis is a concurrent process documentation using mixed-method approaches. It will be conducted in the rural Kalihati Upazila where the SSK is being implemented. To validate the BPL population selection process, we will estimate the positive predictive value. A community survey will be conducted to assess the knowledge of the card holders about SSK services. From the SSK information management system, numbers of different services utilized by the card holders will be retrieved. Key-informant interviews with personnel from three key actors will be conducted to understand the barriers in the implementation of the project as per plan and gather their suggestions. To estimate the project costs, all inputs to be used will be identified, quantified and valued. The nationwide scale-up cost of the project will be estimated by applying economic modeling.DiscussionSSK is the first ever government initiated health protection scheme in Bangladesh. The study findings will enable decision makers to gain a better understanding of the key challenges in implementation of such scheme and provide feedback towards the successful implementation of the program.

Original publication





BMC health services research

Publication Date





Universal Health Coverage Programme, Health Systems and Population Studies Division, icddr,b, 68 Shahid Tajuddin Ahmed Sharani, Mohakhali, Dhaka, 1212, Bangladesh.


Humans, Program Evaluation, Family Characteristics, Government Programs, Poverty, Hospitals, Health Services, Health Expenditures, Financing, Government, Delivery of Health Care, Bangladesh, Surveys and Questionnaires, Universal Health Insurance