WHY IN NEWS?
The Oxfam report which is named ‘Inequality Report 2021: India’s Unequal Healthcare Story’ was released on Tuesday. This report talks about how India’s focus on supporting private healthcare while low spending on public healthcare systems has led to inequalities in accessing healthcare, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
- The States which are attempting to reduce the existing healthcare inequalities with higher expenditure on health had lower confirmed cases of Covid-19 compared to the other states.
- The report states that the states such as Telangana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, that for the past few years have been reducing inequalities, especially healthcare inequalities between the general category and SC and ST populations, have less COVID-19 confirmed cases. On the other hand states, such as Assam, Bihar and Goa that have had higher GDP expenditure on health have higher Covid recovery rates.
- The Oxfam report has marked the state of Kerala as a success story in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The report stated that the people in the higher income brackets and those with access to health infrastructure had less visits to hospitals and Covid centres than those who belongs to the lower income groups (LIG). People in the LIG faced more discrimination regarding the access of COVID-19 related medicines and healthcare.
- This report also points out the country’s digital divide which has been ignored while administering the vaccine which is causing a vaccine inequality between the income groups as well as general and SC, ST categories.
- There have also been inequalities on the basis of gender. Men are better off than women.