India’s The Hindu highlights high costs push surgical care out of reach
A major national daily from India, The Hindu, has highlighted key research from The George Institute for Global Health in The Global Surgery 2030 Commission, published in The Lancet medical journal.
The research from The George Institute focused on utilization of a major community health insurance initiative known as Aarogyashri.
The retrospective audit of hospital claim data from South India revealed that despite universal access, the uptake of surgery in India is still at the level of a low-income country.
The research found that a third of all deaths in India in 2010, nearly 17 million lives lost in all, was from conditions treatable with surgery, such as appendicitis, fractures and childbirth complications.
Dr. Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director of The George Institute for Global Health India, told The Hindu, said “It came as a surprise to us that despite universal access, the uptake of surgery was still at the level of a low-income country.”
“Just making a scheme available doesn’t automatically mean utilization will happen. There are a number of factors preventing uptake, including that the scheme only covers the cost of the surgery, while there are a number of steps before the stage of surgery that are not trivial in terms of their implication on cost, and the person needing to be away from his or her livelihood. They might live in remote areas, or other family members might be prioritized,” Dr. Jha said.
The Global Surgery 2030 Commission was written by 25 experts in surgery and anesthesia, with contributions from more than 110 countries, including India.
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