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NFHS-5: Half of households don’t seek govt health care

The survey report shows that the percentage of households that did not generally use a government health facility during 2019-21 was 49.9%, which is lower than the 55.1% recorded in the previous round of NFHS in 2015-16.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: May 12, 2022 7:48:22 am
During 2019-21, the proportion of such households was highest in Bihar (80%), followed by Uttar Pradesh (75%). The lowest – less than 5% – was recorded in Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

HALF OF the families in India do not usually seek health care from government health facilities and almost half of them do not do so because of “poor quality of care” at public hospitals, according to findings of the National Family Health Survey-5, which were released by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya last week.

The survey report shows that the percentage of households that did not generally use a government health facility during 2019-21 was 49.9%, which is lower than the 55.1% recorded in the previous round of NFHS in 2015-16.

During 2019-21, the proportion of such households was highest in Bihar (80%), followed by Uttar Pradesh (75%). The lowest – less than 5% – was recorded in Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

While Uttar Pradesh saw a marginal decline in the proportion of families that did not generally use a government facility – from 80.1% in 2015-16 to 75% in 2019-21 – Bihar registered an increase from 77.6% to 80.2% during the same period. Besides Bihar, the percentage of such families went up marginally in six other states and UTs. The biggest jump was recorded in Uttarakhand, where it increased to 55.7% in 2019-21 from 50.5% in 2015-16.

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The NFHS-5 report has given reasons for people not availing the government health facilities when sick. “The most commonly reported reason for not using government health facilities at the national level is the poor quality of care (reported by 48% of households that do not generally use government facilities),” it says.

“The second most commonly reported reason is the long waiting time at government facilities (46%), followed by the fact that there is no government facility nearby (40% of households).”

Incidentally, there is no decline in the proportion of families which do not generally use government facility due to “poor quality care” available there. According to the NFHS-4 in 2015-16, 48% of households that did not seek health care from the government health facilities had cited “poor quality of care” as the biggest reason.

According to the latest report, 46.9% families in urban areas and 51.7% in rural areas used the public health sector during 2019-21, while the proportion of households availing private health sector stood at 51.8% in cities and 46.4% in villages.

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