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

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Employment loss vis-a-vis pre-Covid situation 'neutralized', claim Govt of India data

By Arup Mitra, DPS Negi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav* The Labour Bureau, an attached office of the Ministry of Labour & Employment, has been entrusted with the task of conducting the All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES) which has two components namely Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) in respect of establishments employing 10 or more workers (mostly constituting ‘organised’ segment) and Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES) to build up a frame in respect of establishments employing nine or less workers.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

How green revolution led to 'deterioration' of Punjab economy, land, air and water

By Dr Gian Singh*  A recent research paper, based on a survey of 320 farming families in four districts of Punjab, has tried to show that high crop densities and the use of inputs have led to degradation of land, air, water and humans through a rich agricultural structure. Although mechanization has increased agricultural productivity, it has also caused environmental degradation.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Article 370 abrogation hasn't helped curb terrorist attacks: Kashmiri Pandit group

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Lt Governor, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the Valley, Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) president Sanjay K Tickoo has taken strong exception to what he calls" callous approach" shown by the administration and security agencies towards "non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits / Hindus living in Kashmir Valley".

India's weak fiscal position: Can higher gold reserves help stem further deterioration?

Counterview Desk  India Gold Policy Centre at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIMA), which has been researching on global gold markets working closely with the Government of India as as an advisor on various policy initiatives in several key areas relating to the use of gold as a fungible financial asset, has claimed that high levels of Central Bank gold reserves has had “positive implications for India.”

India's 55% firms perceive significant, sustained high-cost pressure: IIM-A survey

Costs per unit compare: % responses By Our Representative  A new Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) survey, involving responses from executives of around 1,200 companies across India, has said that the cost perceptions data indicates “sustained high-cost pressures”, with over 55% of the firms perceiving significant (over 6%) cost increase.