How healthy is India? The general impression of a faltering public sector health care system apart, the question has assumed even more importance amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Even earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi never missed a chance to urge his citizens to focus on health and well-being — even promoting yoga internationally.
So, has our health infrastructure improved? Is care more accessible now? A good place to pick up hints is the fourth health survey that was released in July 2020 as part of the 75th round of National Sample Survey.
The National Sample Survey Office, India’s premier sample survey body, conducted it between July 2017 and June 2018 in rural and urban areas of every Indian district. The sample size: 113,823 households.
Let’s look at three important questions it answers:
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How frequently is India falling ill?
The NSS report looks at two parameters to answer the question: The percentage of people who responded that they were ailing at some point in the 15 days prior to the survey — gives an idea of the population that was unwell — and the percentage of respondents hospitalised within the past 365 days.
The survey found that 6.8 per cent rural population had been unwell. That rose to 9.1 per cent in urban areas.
To put it in perspective, the 52nd NSSO round (July 1995-June 1996) — the last time the agency surveyed an entire year — the proportion of those ailing was 5.5 per cent (rural) and 5.4 per cent (urban).
The 60th round (Jan-June 2004) and 71st round (Jan-June 2014) rounds had higher proportions, but the survey periods were only six months.
Source: Downto Earth