Chandigarh: Despite being relatively considered as affluent states, both Punjab and Haryana fare badly when it comes to spending on public health.
The recently released National Health Profile-2015 shows that both are at the bottom in north Indian states as far as government expenditure is concerned.
According to the Profile, with Rs 661 per capita health expenditure, Haryana is at the bottom in northern states, which also feature Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh. Haryana is closely followed by Punjab with a per capita spending of Rs 728.
Both Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir are way ahead of the two states with per capita expenditure of Rs 1,593 and Rs 1,009, respectively. Even Chandigarh has a per capita spending of Rs 1,458 and Delhi of Rs 1,420.
Under such an important head, Punjab and Haryana are spending just 0.51% and 0.72%, respectively of their Gross State Domestic Product, way lower than the national figure of 1.1% of the GDP.
In comparison, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Chandigarh and Delhi are spending 1.55%, 1.49%, 1% and 0.79%, respectively.
According to health economics experts, this is forcing people to spend more money from their own pockets to get health facilities. According to the Profile, in Punjab, the monthly per capita household out-of-pocket expenditure is Rs 197; in Haryana, it is Rs 131. In Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi, it is Rs 95, Rs 135, Rs 103 and Rs 132, respectively.
“High out-of-pocket expenditure means the government is shying away from its responsibility. It has serious repercussions for society as the high out-of-pocket expenditure stops people from seeking health care services,” says Dr Shankar Prinja, assistant professor of health economics at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.