The study explored the health facility utilisation patterns and reasons for non-utilisation of public facilities in 21 states and union territories in India, with a focus on hypertension. It was found that a majority of Indians are choosing private healthcare facilities over public healthcare facilities.
The conclusion in the study mentioned that, ‘Quality of care was an important determinant of facility choice in households with hypertension and diabetes. With the increase in hypertension and cardiovascular disease in India, quality of public primary healthcare must be addressed for current policy to become reality.’
It states that, ‘Households with hypertension only and with both hypertension and diabetes were more likely to cite quality of care as a reason for non-utilisation public facilities than households without hypertension.’
Abhijit More, conveynor of Jan Aarogya, an NGO which fights for health related issues, said, “There is no policy for screening and management of hypertension at primary health care facilities in India. As the study mentions that due to poor quality of care at primary health care facilities, the patients were not seeking treatment at government facilities, it is need of the hour that government should evaluate its healthcare delivery systems.”
Dr Anirudha Tongavkar, Diabetologist from Pune, said, “The burden of non-communicable diseases is increasing in the country. Similarly, the change in lifestyle is making more and more Indians prone to fall prey to diseases like hypertension. When public hospitals are not equipped to handle such cases, it adds more to out of pocket expenditure of people from India. Government should strengthen public healthcare facilities to deliver better when it comes to non-communicable diseases.”