230mn Indians paid over 10% income as medical cost: WHO

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) While half of Indians do not have access to essential health services, a big chunk of those availing the services ended up shelling out more than 10 per cent of their income, says a World Health Organization (WHO) report.

As per the World Health Statistics 2018 report, published in the WHO website, 17.3 per cent of India’s population or nearly 230 million citizens had to spend more than 10 per cent of their income towards health expenditure during 2007-2015.

The number of people impoverished by out-of-pocket medical expenses in India is more than the combined population of the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

As compared to India, percentage of population spending over 10 per cent of their income towards medical services is Sri Lanka 2.9 per cent, UK 1.6 per cent, USA 4.8 per cent and China 17.7 per cent.

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“Too many people are still dying of preventable diseases, too many people are being pushed into poverty to pay for health care out of their own pockets and too many people are unable to get the health services they need. This is unacceptable,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a release.

The WHO report further revealed that 3.9 per cent of the country’s population or 51 million Indians spent more than a quarter of their household budget for health services.

The comparable figures are Sri Lanka 0.1 per cent, UK 0.5 per cent, USA 0.8 per cent and China 4.8 per cent.

The global average is 11.7 per cent for people spending more than 10 per cent of their income towards medical expenses, 2.6 per cent for people spending more than 25 per cent of their income on health and 1.4 per cent who were pushed into extreme poverty due to health-related expenses, the report said.

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Going by the global average of 1.4 per cent, the number of Indians who would be hardest hit due to medical treatment cost stands close to 20 million.

–IANS

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