A study on “Understanding Healthcare Access in India: What is the Current State?” by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics on access to healthcare facilities has received a lot of coverage on Monday as it was reported in the Economic Times, Pharmabiz and Silicon India and other online sites. The study presents data to support – well, what we already know , that rural areas of India still remain significantly underdeveloped in terms of health infrastructure but it does provide some interesting statistics on access to health care.
As reported by Pharmabiz , this study is the most comprehensive assessment of healthcare access undertaken since 2004 and is based on an extensive survey of nearly 15,000 households covering all socio-economic groups in rural and urban areas across 12 states. Information was gathered on more than 30,000 healthcare system interactions, supplemented by interviews with over 1,000 doctors and experts. According to this study:
Half the people in India and over three-fifths of those who live in rural areas have to travel beyond 5 km to reach a healthcare centre.
Availability of healthcare services is skewed towards urban centers with these residents, who make up only 28% of the country’s population, enjoying access to 66% of India’s available hospital beds, while the remaining 72%, who live in rural areas, have access to just one-third of the beds.
Poor patients receiving outpatient care for chronic conditions at a private facility spent on an average 44% of their monthly household expenditure per treatment, against 23% for those using a public facility.
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