Skip to main content

India's males spend "much higher" on healthcare than females, says global study

By Our Representative
A recent study on gender disparities in health-care expenditure (HCE) in India, published in “Science Direct”, one of the world's leading source for scientific, technical, and medical research, has said that though globally women live longer than men “because of the biological and behavioral advantages of being a female”, in India “life expectancy gap for females versus males is nearly zero or marginally higher” because of “gender-based discrimination in breastfeeding, food allocation, immunization, access to health-care services, and finance for treatment.”
Authored by scholars Moradhvaja and Nandita Saikiaa, who are with the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria, respectively, the study says, “The in-patient HCE for males is substantially higher than that of females (Rs 23,666 for males versus Rs 16,881 for females).”
Based on an analysis of 35,515 adults who received in-patient care in a survey carried out by the Government of India’s data collection body, National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), the study says, “In-patient health expenditure is higher among males than females irrespective of the type of disease and duration of the stay in the hospital.”
“The amount of healthcare expenditure in hospitalization is systematically higher among male patients than the female patients across the demographic and socio-economic characteristics, although extent of this difference varies from one group to another. On average, health care expenditure on men is about Rs 8,397 more than that of women.”
Noting that there is “absence of gender difference in health care expenditure only in case of communicable diseases”, the study finds, “Average healthcare expenditure towards doctor fee, medicine costs, diagnostic test costs, and other medical items for inpatients are invariably higher among the males compared to females”, adding, “The result indicates that females are facing discriminatory behaviour in healthcare spending for inpatient care.”
According to the study, “The percentage of females hospitalized with income or savings as health care finance is higher than that of males (51.02% vs 45.73%)”, but “the percentage of males hospitalized with distressed financing is higher than that of females irrespective of background characteristics.”
Stating that “as level of education increases, the percentage share of HCF through current income or savings increases as well”, the study says, “While there is no substantial difference in the HCF pattern between in-patients belonging to the Hindu and Muslim religions, the percentage of distressed financing is less among in-patients belonging to other religions.”
“The probability of using distressed sources for HCF decreases among inpatients aged 60 and above”, the study says, adding, “This implies that households avoid using distressed resources to provide in-patient care for older age groups.” ;
The study finds that “rural Indian households are more likely to pay in-patient care costs through borrowing, sale of assets, and contributions from friends and relatives compared to their urban counterparts.”
It adds, “The education level of the head of the household has a significant effect on sources of finance for health-care. Lack of formal education of the household head is consistently shown to have higher chances of meeting HCF from borrowing, selling assets, or a combination of all these sources, whereas an educated head of household has a lower chance of borrowing, selling assets, and asking for contributions rather than using current income/savings.”
The study says, “In-patients belonging to deprived castes such as SC/ST, tend to finance in-patient care from borrowing, sale of assets, and contributions from relatives, rather than using income/savings. Like-wise, poorer households are more likely to borrow for in-patient care than richer households. Households with higher dependency ratios are more likely to finance in-patient care through sale of assets and contributions from friends than from income/savings.”
“Patients hospitalized for the treatment of non-communicable and other diseases, have a greater chance of borrowing and selling assets than those undergoing treatment for communicable diseases”, says the study, adding, “Longer periods of hospitalization lead to borrowing and sale of assets, alongside seeking help from friends and relatives.”
It underlines, “Patients using a private facility have a greater chance of resorting to distressed financing than paying through current income/savings, compared to those using a public facility. As the doctors’ fees and transportation costs increase, the chances of using distressed resources for HCF also increase.”
“It is important to note that as age increases, the probability of using ‘borrowing’ as a source of HCF decreases continuously for both genders, yet the gap between the genders is notable. Females have a lower chance of paying for hospitalization through the sale of assets and contributions from relatives. In contrast, the chance of borrowing for men’s health care increases with the onset of adulthood, and declines once a man becomes old”, the study says.
Study says, “Only 27% of Indian women are engaged in paid jobs, and the rest are involved in unpaid household chores and care-giving, that is, non-economic activities. Since household chores and care-giving do not yield direct economic benefits, the relative importance of women’s health is underestimated.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

Desist from academic censorship, stop threatening scholars: Letter to ICMR

Counterview Desk  In a letter to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director, the Universal Health Organisation (UHO) which consists of prominent health experts, has insisted that the Government of India’s top medical research agency should lead high quality research on vaccine safety and “desist from academic censorship”.

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.