Utilization Of The Health Care Delivery System In A District Of North India
Background: India has one of the most extensive health infrastructures- a three-tier hierarchical referral system- for the provision of effective and efficient health services to the majority of its population. In this study we have tried to evaluate the utilization of such a wide health infrastructure and the various factors affecting it. We have also tried to find the factors that motivated the patients to visit the present health facility and the key persons who motivated them to do so. Methods: Time bound cross-sectional study. Setting: Three types of referral health facilities in Lucknow District Participants: A total of 1265 patients were interviewed during the four months of the period of survey from these three types of referral health facilities. Results: The present study revealed that majority of the patients coming to all the three referral centres were the new patients (89%), about two-thirds of whom had come there directly. Overall, only one tenth of the patients attending the secondary and tertiary level public health facilities were referred by someone. Most of the indirect patients had self referred themselves. About eight and nine percent of the indirect and referred patients could reach the present site of treatment only after more than two years of rummaging and about 13% and 11% had spent more than ten thousand rupees respectively, which in some cases even amounted to lakh rupees. Conclusions: The utilization of the referral system of the health care delivery in India needs to be augmented. Before planning future reforms such as decentralization, incorporation of the Indian system of Medicine, and other steps we need to develop mechanisms to see that the plans are materialized.
East African Journal of Public Health Vol. 5 (3) 2008: pp. 147-153