Oxfam Report: India’s Unequal Healthcare Story

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.


Key Highlights

  • 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.
  • Also the urban population fared better than the rural population which has been measured on various health indicators.
  • Between 2004 and 2017 the per hospitalisation case medical expenditure has tripled making it very difficult for the poorer and rural households. The urban households depended on their savings while the rural households depended mostly on loans and borrowings.
  • Less than one third of the country’s household is covered by an insurance scheme of the Government.
  • The out-of-pocket health expenditure of 64.2% in India is higher than the world average which stands at 18.2%. Exorbitant healthcare prices have forced many to incur debts and to their assets.
  • Literacy rates among the different social categories also affect their healthcare access.
  • Though there has been improvement in child immunisation still the rate of immunisation of girls continues to be below that of the male child.
  • Children residing in urban areas have better access to immunization than those in rural areas. There is also disparity in child immunization between the income groups in the country.


About Oxfam

Oxfam was founded in the year in the year 1942 and it’s headquarter is located in Nairobi, Kenya. It is a confederate of several charitable organizations that works on global poverty.




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