IIT-Madras Research calls for higher govt investment to protect elderly from COVID impact

Chennai : An Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) Research has called for greater Government investment in public healthcare to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the elderly.

The current pandemic poses a greater risk of social isolation among the elderly, which may lead to greater adverse health impact, an IIT-M release said today.

The poor among the elderly would suffer more than others. As a result, their access to regular primary healthcare services,
and continuity of care that is essential for those suffering from non-communicable diseases, given their dependency and lack of mobility, may have worsened further during this pandemic.

Overall, given the evidence on the possible hardships that the elderly may have already gone through during the pandemic
and hardships that they may face in the future, the importance of strengthening the public health care system could not be over-emphasized, the researchers opine.

Based on the 75th round of the National Sample Survey (NSS) 2017-18, the study, published in prestigious international journal Globalization and Health, found that only 18.9 per cent of the elderly had health insurance and therefore they may not be able to bear large expenditures on health; and further, 27.5 per cent of people, whose age is 80 years or above, are immobile and 70 per cent of elders are partially or wholly financially dependent on others.

The NSS survey covered 113,823 households and 555,115 individuals from randomly selected 8077 villages and 6181 urban areas. The results showed that disparities exist in health status as well as healthcare access of elderly people across the country.

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