28th December 2022
First of all, in rural India visiting a government health facility when one needs to consult a health practitioner is not at ubiquitous as one would assume. A survey, carried out by the Development Intelligence Unit (promoted by Transforming Rural India Foundation and Sambodhi Research and Communications), reveals that only in 57% of the cases has this been the preferred treatment seeking behaviour. This is in line with NFHS 5 which had estimated that 49.9% of rural India do not generally use a government health facility
Consumer satisfaction with accessing health services in rural India
How often do you use government health facilities when you need to see a health practitioner? [Figures in percentage]
Nevertheless, Sub Centres, PHCs, CHCs, Civil/District Hospitals and Teaching Hospitals remain important sources of healthcare for the rural masses with a typical rural household having at least one member having visited a government facility at least once in the past 3 months.
However, what is surprising is that visit to a PHC or higher order facility was reported to be much more than visited a health sub centre, which is designed for last mile connectivity.
What type of health facility did you visit?
If you saw a doctor or an ANM, then how long did you have to wait to see him/her during your last visit? [Figures in percentage]
Nearly 70% of the respondents could confirm that the health provider whom the consulted was not rude and was attentive and interested in carrying out the investigation into their health issue. 87% thought that their examination seems to have been thorough.
However, and at the same time, perceived rudeness in behaviour (of varying degree) was also reported, by 28.7% of the respondents.
Despite this, the positive feedback was that just over 91% of the respondents had felt that the healthcare professional who was consulted was attentive and at least gave off appositive vibe (interested) while attending to them.
Were you given a prescription and free medicines? [Figures in percentage]
The survey revealed that close to 53% of the respondents could confirm that they were given a prescription along with free medicines from the centre. At the same time, had to buy all or some of the medicines through the open market as they were not available at the centre. This finding is fairly similar to the estimation brought out by the Economic Survey 2019-20 which observes that 60% of the patients are still forced to pay for some of the medicines that are being prescribed by government health facilities.
This survey was conducted among 4547 individuals who had visited a government health facility at least once over the past 2 years, either for their own treatment, or had accompanied someone who required treatment. The survey covered a total of 20 states and the entire sample was from rural India. The survey was run by SambodhiPanels. The survey was run in August 2022