Health in India: NSS 71st Round (January – June 2014)

Urban India is more sick than the rural hinterland despite the mushrooming of health and wellness clinics and super-specialty hospitals, besides better per capita earnings. And this could well be attributed to increasing pollution levels and unhealthy dietary habits. A government health survey has revealed that around 11.8% of urban and 8.9% of rural population reported ailments during a 15-day reference period. Women were found to be more vulnerable to diseases in both cities and villages. The survey found that 13.5% of women, as compared to 10.1% of men, fell sick in urban areas, while the figures were 9.9% and 8%, respectively, in rural India. What's worrisome is that a high chunk of the population (86% in rural and 82% in urban areas) remains outside any scheme of health expenditure support. The NSSO survey reiterates that people rely more on private hospitals, with over 70% spells of ailment (72% in rural areas and 79% in urban areas) being treated in the private sector. Also, private institutions dominated both rural (58%) and urban areas (68%) in treating inpatients. Allopathy remains the preferred treatment in rural as well as urban areas. The survey found that over 90% of rural and urban population relies on allopathic treatment despite the government's efforts to promote alternative medicine.

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