India is recording a whopping 5.2 million injuries each year due to medical errors and adverse events.
Of these, the biggest sources are mishaps from medications, hospital–acquired infections and blood clots that develop in legs from being immobilized in the hospital.
Similarly, approximately 3 million years of healthy life are lost in India each year due to these injuries. A landmark report by an Indian doctor from Harvard School of Public Health has concluded that more than 43 million people are injured worldwide each year due to unsafe medical care.These injuries result in the loss of nearly 23 million years of healthy life (DALYs). The findings for the first time tries to quantify the global burden of unsafe medical care across a range of adverse health events.
Premature death was the biggest driver of DALYs lost – 78.6% of all adverse events in high–income countries and 80.7% in low and middle–income countries. However, disability was more common than death itself, the study found. The researchers also found that a large majority – about two–thirds – of injuries and harm occur in low and middleincome countries like India.
For every 100 hospitalizations, there were approximately 14.2 adverse events in highincome countries and 12.7 in low and middle–income countries. The number of DALYs lost was more than twice as high in low and middle–income countries (15.5 million) as it was in high–income countries (7.2 million).
The most common adverse events in high–income countries were adverse drug events (incidence rate 5%). The most common adverse events in low and middle–income countries were blood clots in veins (incidence rate 3%). "This is the first attempt to quantify the human suffering that results from unsafe care," said lead author Ashish Jha, professor of health policy and management at HSPH. "We find that millions of people around the world are hurt, disabled and sometimes even die as a result of medical errors". Speaking to TOI, Dr Jha said "unfortunately, our data from India is among the poorest – there have been very few studies done on this topic and so we are making estimations based on a global average for low and middle income countries, with only a few data inputs from India itself".
‘113m dependent people by 2050’
In another 35 years, India will be home to the world’s highest number of people completely dependent on others to take care of them. By 2050, the number of dependent people in India – defined as those with the need for frequent human help or care beyond that habitually required by a healthy adult – will hit the 113 million mark. With an expected population of 1,572 million in 2050, this will mean over 7% of the population will be officially dependent – 120% higher than what the prevalence was in the year 2000.
At present, China is home to the world’s highest number of dependent people – 76 million, 12 million more than the count in India. Even in 2030, China will hold the infamous position and will be home to 102 million people who are dependent, while India will be home to 90 million such people. But according to the World Alzheimer’s Report 2013, by 2050, India will have 2 million more people who are dependent than China (113 million as against China’s 111 million).
Times of India
21 Sep 2013