Indians 6th biggest private spenders on health among low-middle income nations

NEW DELHI: Indians were the sixth-biggest out-of-pocket health spenders in the low-middle income group of 50 nations in 2014, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of two recent studies by The Lancet, a British medical journal.
The Lancet had conducted two studies — published on April 19 — across 184 nations on public and private spending on health. The first showed that while total health spending varies directly with economic development, there is substantial variation among countries. The second predicted that government spending in low-income countries will need to grow substantially, because private per capita health spending in these countries will not grow as fast as required.
Among the 184 nations surveyed, Indians, along with Bangladeshis, stood sixth among the biggest out-of-pocket spenders. At 65.6 per cent, private expenditure on health by Indians stood 37.45 percentage points higher than the world median of 28.15 per cent.
In the South Asia region comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, the out-of-pocket health expenditure of Indians and Bangladeshis was 10.2 percentage points more than the region’s median of 55.4 per cent, our analysis showed.
Indians also topped the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in out-of-pocket health expenses, shelling out 31 percentage points more than the group median of 34.6 per cent.
In terms of spending on public health, India ranked 147 among 184 countries, a notch below Pakistan, in 2014. At 31.3 per cent of their citizens’ total health spending in 2014, the government’s contribution was 23.7 percentage points short of the world median of 55 per cent, the IndiaSpend analysis showed.
Among the 50 lower-middle-income countries, India’s government ranked 39 in 2014, spending 15.9 percentage points less than the group median of 47.2 per cent. Among the five South Asia region countries, the country’s government was the median country in the year, contributing 31.3 per cent to total per capita health spending. Government share of total health spending in India is a little less than in Pakistan (32.1 per cent) and less than half of that in Bhutan (70.7 per cent).
Among BRICS nations, India spent the least on public health — 15.7 percentage points less than the group median of 47 per cent in the year.
The Lancet research studied the relation between economic development and health spending in 184 countries between 1995 and 2014.