covid: 80% of Covid patients spent out of pocket on certain drugs | Bombay News

Mumbai: While the popular perception is that the public health system received the bulk of Covid-related spending, a survey by the state itself showed that almost 80% of Covid patients paid out of pocket for at least some drugs.
The special survey was carried out to study the impact of the pandemic on social and economic issues and covered 800 sampling units of 20 households each. A total of 66,748 people – 26,867 in rural areas and 39,881 in urban areas – were studied in August-September 2021.
The survey, released along with the economic survey on Thursday, said around 21.7% of respondents in rural areas and 16.5% in urban areas received free treatment for Covid-19. A significant number – 12.8% in rural areas and 15.9% in urban areas – spent over Rs 50,000 each on Covid treatment.
“The point to note is that people were still spending on food and medicine,” said health economist Dr Ravi Duggal. “Apart from the burden of Covid treatment costs, people have had to spend more on food,” he said. Citing the survey, he said 78% of urban respondents said spending on food and drink had increased during the lockdown.
The survey also found that the majority of respondents in rural areas contracted Covid after coming into contact with an infected person in a crowded place. In urban areas, workplace infection accounted for 30% of cases.
Home quarantine was higher in urban areas (43%) than in rural areas (38%). Only a quarter of patients in both urban and rural areas sought private health care, while the rest chose public health care.
Incidentally, the majority of patients – 45.5% of households in rural areas and 37.8% of households in urban areas – had physical consultations with their doctors.
The survey also captured the social impact of the pandemic: around 85% of students over the age of five took online training during the lockdown. “About 54% of students said frequent internet discontinuity was the main difficulty during online classes,” the survey said.
About 47.1% of people in rural areas and 19.8% in urban areas did not receive a salary as work was temporarily closed during the lockdown.

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