Dengue, malaria deaths rise in Delhi despite growing health expenditure and claims of health revolution
Despite rising expenditure in the health sector, both communicable and non-communicable diseases continue to claim lives in rather big numbers, shows white paper on Delhi’s health sector released by Praja Foundation on Thursday.
Despite massive expenditure being incurred in Delhi’s health sector, both communicable and non-communicable diseases continue to claim lives in rather big numbers, shows white paper on Delhi’s health sector released by Praja Foundation on Thursday.
The striking findings related to the capital city’s health woes come at a time when the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal himself is making claims that a revolution has been brought in the capital’s health sector by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi.
The study showed that despite increase in health expenditure, the city’s burden of communicable diseases have not decreased substantially. Rather waterborne diseases such as dengue, malaria, cholera and diarrhoea continue to remain epidemic.
As per the study, in 2016 Delhi saw 6,22,480 number of persons suffering from diarrhoea as against 5,64,416 in the year 2015.
Deaths due to diarrhoea also too took a leap forward in the above-mentioned period. The study showed that 157 persons died of the waterborne disease in 2015 as against 147 in 2014.
Similarly, the capital city registered huge number of deaths due to malaria and dengue in the last two years. As per the study, malaria claimed lives of 164 persons in 2015 as opposed to 160 in 2014. On the other hand 486 persons died of dengue in 2015 as against as against 74 in 2014.
The study is based on data from municipal corporation hospitals, dispensaries as well as state government hospital and dispensaries. While Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party came to power in 2015, BJP has been running all the three municipal corporations in Delhi since 2012.
Is water bane of Delhi's health troubles?
Though the study does not explore reasons behind the outbreak of diseases in the capital city, it says that water remains a major concern for the people.
"Citizens lodged a large number of complaints about polluted water in 2016, indicating that people had raised the issue to the authorities," a release issued by the Praja Foundation said, adding that among various civic issues, the maximum number (2,27,444) of civic complaints in 2016 by far were on water supply.
"These (the complaints) constituted 50 percent of the total complaints in that year," the NGO, which works towards government accountability on civic through data-driven research studies said.
Increase in health budget fails to impress
During the last two years, increase in number of deaths due to non-communicable disease were also very high. The study showed that 1,962 persons died due to hypertension in 2014, whereas the number grew to 3,890 in 2015.
The grim situation in Delhi’s healthcare exists despite massive increase in health budget, the study points out. According to the study, Delhi's health budget was increased from 6,519 crores in 2015-16 to 7,148 crores in the next year.
Significantly, the increase in health budget did not enhance people’s trust in government medical facilities, the report highlights. It shows that despite an increase in health expenditure in the government sector, only 24 percent of the residents in Delhi visited only government medical facilities. According to the study, 47 percent of the patients visited only private medical facilities while 21 percent used both.
The study also shows the apathy of the public representatives towards the issues faced by the people at large.
"Even as the city continues to see very high cases of major diseases, the responses of elected representatives on several of these diseases appears to be inadequate. For instance, medical relief and public health committee councilors did not raise even a single issue on tuberculosis from April 2015 to December 2016. Similarly, MLAs also did not raise even a single issue on tuberculosis from the time of their election on 24 February 2015 to 15 November 2016,” the study said.
As per the study Tuberculosis infected 83,208 persons in 2015 and 68,169 in 2016. The disease claimed 4,350 lives in 2014 and 3,635 in 2015.
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