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Gaps in rural healthcare facilities: Survey

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Despite being one of the most developed states in the country, 93 per cent of hospital beds in Maharashtra are in urban areas, claimed an advocacy group which released a survey on health inequities recently. The study, based on secondary data analysis done by Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI) has found the rural population, women and persons from the backward class population do not have the same access to healthcare as others. “The rural population, poorer sections, women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Muslims bear a heavier burden of deprivation resulting in bad health. In addition, they have much worse access to health care,” said Magsasay award winning journalist P Sainath who released the report here. Other findings of the report, which is based on primary data obtained from reports which government bodies have come out with are — 32.6 per cent women have low body mass index compared to 24.9 per cent in men. The report claimed that 54 per cent of the SC/ST population in rural areas live below the poverty line. It claimed that many people have stopped using the health care system due to “privatisation”. “Two hundred million people have stopped seeking medical attention as they cannot afford it. Sadly, we are emulating the US model of private health care rather than that of other successful public health systems world over,” said Sainath.

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