The cost of COVID ICU care in India is the equivalent of 16 months’ pay for day laborers.
According to a paper published by the Duke Global Health Institute and the Public Health Foundation of India, the cost of ICU hospitalization for COVID-19 in India is nearly 16 months of work for a typical day laborer and seven to ten months for salaried or self-employed workers.
In India, millions of people are burdened by massive piles of medical bills. The majority do not have health insurance, and the costs of COVID-19 treatment have them in debt.
The pandemic devastated India’s economy, and the country’s recovery will be hampered by the fact that millions of people are dependent on the country’s chronically underfunded and fragmented healthcare system.
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“We have a patchwork quilt of public insurance that isn’t complete and a shoddy public health system. The pandemic has demonstrated how shaky and unsustainable these two things are,” according to Vivek Dehejia, an economist who has studied Indian public policy.
Anil Sharma visited his 24-year-old son Saurav at a private hospital in northwest New Delhi every day for more than two months as coronavirus cases ravaged India this spring. Saurav was put on a ventilator in May, as India’s new COVID-19 cases broke global records by reaching 400,000 per day.
Sharma’s mind is etched with the image of the tube squeezing Saurav’s throat. “I had to stay strong when I was with him, but as soon as I left the room, I would break down,” he explained.
Saurav has returned home, though he is still weak and recovering. However, the family’s happiness is tempered by a mountain of debt that accumulated while he was ill.
Sharma had spent all of his savings on an ambulance, tests, medications, and an ICU bed. Then he took out bank loans.
As the costs mounted, he borrowed from friends and relatives. Then, he turned to strangers, pleading online for help on Ketto, an Indian crowdfunding website. Overall, Sharma says he has paid over $50,000 in medical bills.
The crowdfunding provided $28,000, but another $26,000 is borrowed money he needs to repay, a kind of debt he has never faced before.
“He was struggling for his life and we were struggling to provide him an opportunity to survive,” he said, his voice thick with emotion. “I was a. This is a brief summary.