Despite the government’s attempt over the years to popularize AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga or Naturopathy Unani, Siddha and homoeopathy), the people at large are still inclined towards allopathy treatment both in rural and urban India.
The NSSO survey has found higher inclination towards allopathy treatment– around 90%–in both rural and urban areas. Only 5 to 7% usage of ‘other’ type of treatment including AYUSH has been reported both in rural and urban areas. Interestingly, a higher usage (1.5 percentage point) of AYUSH treatment by urban males than their rural counterparts was noted, while less usage of the same (0.8 percentage point) by urban females as compared to rural females was observed. The use of allopathy was also most prevalent in treating the hospitalized cases of ailments both in rural and urban settings of the country irrespective of gender. Surprisingly, use of AYUSH for hospitalized treatment in urban areas (0.8% for male and 1.2% for female) was more than rural areas (0.4% for male and 0.3% for female).
Moreover, un-treated spell was higher in rural (both for male and female) than urban.
The relationship between the percentages of un-treated spells of ailments and level of living was also revealed. Untreated spell was less in those with usually higher monthly per capital expenditure for both rural and urban sector.
The survey found that private doctors were the most important single source of treatment in both rural and urban areas.
More than 70% (72% in rural areas and 79% in urban areas) spells of ailment were treated in the private sector, consisting of private doctors, nursing homes, private hospitals and charitable institutions. The number of people reporting sick is more in urban India compared to rural areas, founds the survey. During a 15-day reference period, 89 of every 1,000 persons—Proportion of Ailing Persons (PAP)—reported an illness in rural India, against 118 persons in urban areas.
Though the number of people in need of treatment is lesser in rural India, the untreated spell was higher in rural areas.
The survey conducted from January to June 2014 was aimed at generating basic quantitative information on the health sector. Considering medical treatment of an ailing person as someone who was an in-patient in any medical institution, the survey found that in the urban population 4.4% were hospitalized at some time during a reference period of one year while this ratio was 3.5% in rural India.
In rural India, 42% of hospitalized treatment was carried out in public hospitals. In urban India, the corresponding figure were 32%.
Since both rural and urban India depended on private hospitals for treatment, their spending for hospitalization was also higher. The average cost of treatment in a private hospital was Rs 25,850 as compared to Rs 6,120 charged in a public hospital.
The highest expenditure was recorded for treatment of cancer (Rs 56,712), followed by that for cardiovascular diseases (Rs 31,647). Average medical expenditure per non-hospitalization case was Rs 509 in rural India and Rs 639 in urban India.