NEW DELHI: Women in India are not only treated unfairly when they need consultation of specialist doctors but also when they need hospitalisation, according to a report.
Incidentally, a recent study of out-patient care in AIIMS, Delhi had revealed the same problem of gender inequality. Of the over 23 lakh patients who availed OPD facilities in a year, the study had said, male outpatients visited 1.69 times more than female outpatients.
Now, the data of the National Health Profile 2019 — the annual account of demographics, health status, health finance, health infrastructure and human resources for the sector — show that while the average cost of hospitalisation for male patients in urban areas is Rs 30,450, it is over 25 per cent lesser for women.
Similarly, while the average cost of hospitalisation for male patients in rural areas is Rs 19,727, it is nearly 28 per cent lesser for female patients. The figures are based on detailed hospitalisation details as compiled in the ‘Key Indicators of Social Consumption in India-Health, 2014’ as part of the National Sample Survey.
Some of the states and Union Territories have the starkest difference. For example, while the money spent on hospitalisation on an average for a male patient in Chandigarh was Rs 20,848, it was less than one-fifth for females.
“These figures are reflective of health-seeking behaviour differences between males and females due to age, demographic realities, the growing burden of non-communicable diseases and larger health insurance coverage of male members in the families,” said Priya Balasubramaniam, senior public health scientist, Public Health Foundation of India, Delhi.
But, there were some exceptions as well. Families in Goa spent nearly three times more in case of a woman when hospitalised in rural areas, for instance.