Out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare forced families to slash expenditure on food, education and health, according to the study.
New Delhi: Illness not only affects a patient’s health, but also financially cripples an entire family, be it poor or middle class, as per an All India institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) study.
The department of gastroenterology and human nutrition conducted the study. As per the study, out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare forced families to slash expenditure on food, education and health. Some even had to sell land, cattle or compromise on education of their children in order to meet medical expenses.
The study, published in the National Medical Journal of India last month, covered 374 patients, who had undergone treatment at the AIIMS Delhi and Comprehensive Rural Health Services Project Hospital of AIIMS in Haryana’s Ballabgarh.
Of the respondents, 51.3 per cent among the rural and 65.5 per cent among the urban patients were employed before illness but after illness only 24.4 per cent among the rural and 23.4 per cent among the urban patients remained in employment.
“The proportion of rural households of different socio-economic categories experienced a dip in expenditure on food, education and health. The proportion of indebted families in different socio- economic classes was also significant among rural and urban patients,” Dr Anoop Saraya, the head of department, of gastroenterology and human nutrition, said.
“Many studies in India have shown people are pushed into poverty on account of out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare,” he added. “Such cases were described as a ‘medical poverty trap,” Dr Saraya added