1:26 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Access to govt. health care services poor, says report

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A new privately-funded, first-of-its-kind National Health Care Survey 2013 has found that awareness of government health and nutrition schemes is low and their utilisation even lower.

The issue of access persists in rural health care delivery with only 31 per cent of the rural population reaching a health centre within 30 minutes of an emergency.

The report supported by HP, EMC2, Philips, Johnson and Johnson, Continua Health Alliance, and Indian Institute of Health Management and Research seeks to fill the gap between government data and surveys till the next round of the National Family Health Survey, which is expected to come out in 2015. The Health Ministry, which disseminated this survey, said private institutions often conduct research in such areas.

About 66.4 per cent of the respondents said they were aware of government-run programmes such as Integrated Child Development Services, Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid-day Meal and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA). The usage of these schemes, however, was very low. The Mid-day Meal was the “most heard of” scheme (57.51 per cent), but only 34.97 per cent actually used it.

Over 56 per cent respondents said they had heard about government programmes on TV.

While over 80.8 per cent of households used mobile phones, only 9.08 per cent had smart phones. Access to Internet was good at 32.59 per cent, the report said.

The survey covered 24 districts in 12 states and interviewed 12,212 households and 58,099 individuals. Of the total population interviewed, 42.7 per cent earned between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh per annum and 46.3 per cent of rural respondents had an average annual salary below Rs. 50,000. While designing better health care delivery systems and practices, it is important to keep a vigil on such parameters, the report said.

Overall, only 12.5 per cent households went for preventive health checkups and this was lower in rural areas. Also a large number of people — 47.28 per cent — preferred private health care facilities. Only 13 per cent households had health insurance cover for at least one member of the family. Among the urban respondents, 18 per cent households were covered by insurance as compared to 10.7 per cent in rural areas.The study analysed the number of persons hospitalised for health problems within a reference period of one year. It found a higher percentage of rural hospitalisation across all age groups till the age of 60 as compared to urban data. However, there was a skewing of data towards the male gender, particularly in the age groups below one year, one to four years, 61-75 years and above 75 years.

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