“Low” caste women in India live 15 years less than “upper” caste: Oxfam

A recently released Oxfam report states that, in India, a so-called low-caste woman can expect to live almost 15 years less than a so-called upper-caste woman.

The report says that “In India, the highest-quality medical care is only available to those who have the money to pay for it.”

The report stated that the “country is a top destination for medical tourism”, but at the same time, “levels of public spending on health are some of the lowest in the world.”

Government neglecting of public healthcare means the private sector dominates”, the report says, “In South Asia, including India, poor-quality care kills more people than lack of access to treatment and care.

“Powerful private health corporations have escalated the cost of government-paid health insurance premiums three and a half times in some states, and threaten to withdraw services if governments do not comply.”

The report added that “In major cities like Delhi, many private hospital corporations have received free or heavily subsidized land from the government in return for providing free care for poor patients, which they consistently fail to deliver.”

“Evidence across different states confirms unethical and corrupt practices by private providers, including charging the government for bogus patients, refusing free treatment to poor patients, and delivering unnecessary interventions and medication. Perhaps the most horrific example of the latter is that thousands of young Indian women have their uteruses needlessly removed by private healthcare providers because hysterectomies are among the most profitable procedures.”

“India is home to the largest number of people pushed into poverty by health expenses; paying for medicines is the chief cause”, adding, “One study in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh found that even low-cost private schools are unaffordable for the poorest 40% of families, with girls and children from lower castes or religious minorities less likely to attend,” the report added.

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