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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-44

Health-care utilization and expenditure patterns in the rural areas of Punjab, India

1 Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Punjab, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rajesh Kumar
Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_291_17

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Objective: To determine pattern of health care utilization and extent of out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure in rural areas of Punjab in India. Methods: Using multi stage sampling procedure, 660 participants were selected from 110 villages, out of all 22 districts; 440 participants had utilized outpatient care in past 15 days, and 220 had been hospitalized in past one year. Pretested semistructured questionnaires were used to enquire about household and healthcare expenditures. Out-of-pocket (OoP) expenditure included only direct costs of healthcare. Sevety seven 77 (12%) participants could not provide expenditures, hence were excluded from analysis. More than 10% of total household expenditure on healthcare was considered catastrophic. Results: Majority of the participants had used public sector health facilities for outpatient (57%) and inpatient (51.5%) care. Public sector facilities were utilized more often for communicable diseases and gynaecological problems whereas private sector services were used more commonly for accidents and non-communicable diseases. Mean healthcare expenditure on outpatient and inpatient healthcare services was Indian Rupees (INR) 8501 and INR 53889 respectively. Expenditure in private sector was significantly higher compared to the public sector facilities. Catastrophic expenditure was incurred by 7% of the households while seeking outpatient care and by 53% while seeking inpatient care. To pay for outpatient and inpatient care, 23.3% and 61.5% of the participants respectively had to borrow money or sell their assets. Conclusions: Healthcare expenditure places households under considerable financial strain in rural areas of Punjab in India. Improvements of public hospitals may increase their utilization and decrease financial burden.

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