Indians suffer highest financial loss during heart disease

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Indians and Chinese suffer the maximum financial damage among Asians during acute coronary diseases, reveals a study published by the WHO.

The study says 60 percent un-insured and 20 percent insured Indian patients spend 30 percent or more of their annual household income on hospitalisation.

The study by the World Health Organisation — with data from 9,370 respondents surveyed in seven countries — was the largest observational study of household economic burden associated with treatment of acute coronary syndromes in Asia.

Researchers from city-based Sir Ganga Ram Hospital were national coordinators who collected data of 1,635 respondents from 48 Indian hospitals.

“The study estimated that Indians and Chinese have to undergo maximum out-of-pocket costs and face maximum catastrophic health expenditure when admitted to hospital after heart attack (acute coronary syndromes) in whole of Asia,” said the report titled “Catastrophic health expenditure after acute coronary events in Asia: A prospective study”.

According to the survey, in Indians, out-of-pocket expenses for a heart patient after being hospitalised was about $2,600 (Rs.1,78,075) on an average.

“Asians on an average spend $3,237 (Rs.2,21,703) in case of hospitalisation due to acute coronary diseases. The catastrophic health expenditure was assessed on the basis of whether a participant had incurred out-of-pocket treatment costs greater than 30 percent of annual baseline household income,” said the report.

Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam were among other countries from where the data was collected.

“Our study also shows that the burden of out-of-pocket costs associated with treatment for acute coronary syndromes in Asia can be substantial, reflecting the limited financial protection available for hospitalisation for these conditions.

“It further reflects high rates of financial catastrophe particularly in China and India,” said Jitendra Sawhney, co-author of the study and chairman of the department of cardiology at Sir Ganga Ram.

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