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Indian Express
02 July 2010
By Shubhlakshmi Shukla
Ahmedabad, India

The survey has already covered 2,200 households (each with three to four family members). The target is 3,600 households within a five–kilometre radius of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. Asarwa and Meghaninagar have been divided into six zones
Patients from lower socio-economic background also prefer private medical services.Patients from lower socio-economic background also prefer private medical services.
A SURVEY by the Community Medicine Department at B J Medical College has revealed that people across different socio–economic backgrounds prefer private hospitals to government ones.

Team leader Prof Niti Talsania said: "According to reports published in Indian medical journals, 70 per cent of the total patients prefer private over government hospitals. It is vice versa in other countries, where most patients prefer government health services, as they opt for medical insurance." She added even patients from the lower socio–economic background, who are eligible for the Centre's health service through the Employee State Insurance (as they fall in the Below Poverty Line category), prefer private medical services.

The team comprises 10 members (social workers, interns, residents, tutors and assistant professors) and the survey consists of 20 questions.

Health services are divided into four main categories: private, public, government and non–government organisation health services – to glean which is the most preferred option for patients.

Respondents are asked on four basic things: faith, dis tance, attitude and waiting time – important factors to be considered when wooing patients to government hospitals.

Factors like caste, religion, socio–economic status, type of family (nuclear, joint or extended), housing profile, number of living rooms, status of drinking water, family composition, physical examination of the family members and physical examination of family members if they have any disability are kept in mind. "The little things are important; which is why we are have included small details such as housing profile," she said.

The team has already covered 2,200 household (each with three to four family members) and the target is 3,600 households within a five kilometre radius of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.

Asarwa and Meghaninagar have been divided into six zones, she said.

She added: "The state government is accrediting most Primary Healthcare Centres, Community Healthcare Centres, medical colleges and hospitals. The current project undertaken by B J Medical, Community Medicine department aims to develop government colleges as part of medical tourism." "The profile of the patients presently coming to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital for treatment are from Rajasthan, Mehsana and other rural areas of Gujarat, such as Sabarkantha, Banaskantha, urban slums and peri–urban slums of Gujarat," she said.

The collated data along with the recommendation will be forwarded to Dr P D Vithlani, Director, Medical Education and Research Department.

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