NEW DELHI: More than 60% patients who go to government facilities are forced to pay for at least some of the medicines they receive adding to the extremely high out-of-pocket-expenditure (OOPE ) in the country, as compared to other developing nations, the Economic Survey, presented in the House on Thursday highlighted.
The survey has also documented the shortfall of doctors and other health professionals at primary health centre level adding that states, where a large number of PHCs are functioning with one doctor or without a doctor, indicate a relatively higher level of rural infant and maternal mortality rates.
The survey noted that as per the national health accounts estimates during 2013-14 to 2015-16, there is an encouraging trend of OOPE and an increase in public health expenditure out of total health expenditure. Public health expenditure, said the survey, as a percentage of the, increased from 22.5% in 2004-05 to 30.6% in 2015-16.
“The OOPE still remains the major component of healthcare expenditure, as evidenced from the cross country analysis,” said the survey.
“One major component of OOPE is expenditure on medicines. Government has made various provisions to provide medicines free of cost in Government facilities, but in reality, a majority — more than 60 per cent — of the patients are still forced to pay for some of the medicines they receive.”
The survey said 60% of PHCs have only one doctor while about 5% have none. Gujarat emerged the worst performer, with more than 90% PHCs having just one doctor.
More than 10 per cent PHCs in Jharkhand and over 20 per cent in Chhattisgarh function without doctors, the survey stated. It also noted that in terms of the costs to the government and for the individuals who seek healthcare, the potential of AYUSH in reducing health expenses is immense. There are several scalable projects in the areas of infertility treatments and non-communicable diseases for instance, recommended the survey, which can be adopted by co-locating AYUSH healthcare services under single roof.
Shortage of doctors
The survey said 60% of PHCs have only one doctor while about 5% have none. Gujarat emerged the worst performer, with more than 90% PHCs having just one doctor