Has COVID-19 Fractured the Accessibility of the Healthcare System Impacting the Health Inequality in India?
32 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 25, 2022
India being a developing country and recording a population of 1.4 billion, the pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities in its healthcare system, especially in terms of healthcare access as well as health inequality. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the limitations of the healthcare system by creating an acute shortage of resources, infrastructure, and manpower. The study empirically develops the comprehensive Healthcare Access Index (HAI) for 19 Indian states and Healthcare Inequality Index (HII) for 9 states for the years 2015 and 2020 signifying pre COVID and post COVID scenarios respectively. In addition to this, the study strives to understand the association between healthcare access and healthcare inequality and estimate the effects of the pandemic on this relationship.
Findings of the study shows that HAI across two time points has fallen for states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, and has increased for states like Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand. In case of HII, Kerala and Karnataka reported high value while states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujrat, Himachal Pradesh, J & K, Assam, and Bihar occupied the lower range. Further, the association between the indices support the hypothesis that pandemic has widened the disparity between healthcare access and inequality across the Indian states. Henceforth, to mitigate future health challenges, states with low HAI and HII should focus on prioritizing healthcare with adequate financing, strong capacity building measures and leveraging more public – private partnerships.
Funding Information: None.
Conflict of Interests: None.
Keywords: Healthcare Access, Healthcare Inequality, India, COVID-19
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