Bhubaneswar: People with chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) faced multiple challenges in accessing healthcare in Khurda district during the Covid-19 pandemic, a study reveals.
The ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) and Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) jointly conducted the mixed-method study in Khurda district during May-June 2020. The report was published Monday.
A total of 491 individuals, having at least one NCD, participated in the study. Among them, 51 per cent (252) were males.
The study revealed that nearly two-thirds of the participants encountered challenges in their routine investigation (69%), while 67 per cent faced trouble in day-care procedures and 61 per cent in reaching hospitals.
Similarly, around 59 per cent participants reported issues in doctor appointments while 56 per cent faced challenges in emergency treatment. Likewise, 47 per cent participants in the survey faced issues in access to the pharmacy while 46 per cent faced delay in availing healthcare services.
Meanwhile, 37 per cent perceived that they could not access healthcare facilities because of social restrictions/lockdowns, 29 per cent attributed arranging finance as a constraint to visiting hospitals and 16 per cent avoided going to the hospital, fearing Covid-19 infection, the study says.
“Qualitative findings revealed that before the onset of the pandemic, participants managed their NCD conditions by routinely visiting hospitals or physicians. Almost all considered their routine treatment as a lesser priority during the pandemic as compared to the threat of Covid-19,” it said.
Those living in urban areas with multiple non-communicable diseases reported a significantly higher challenge in having doctor’s consultation as compared to those living in rural areas with a single NCD condition.
The study also found that family networks were the primary source of support among the respondents (96%), while about three per cent relied on their friends and neighbours.
Some of the participating patients also tried to avail teleconsultation or consulted their physicians through telephone or Internet-based platforms. However, non-availability of their health records and background information on treatment was the major challenge while approaching a new physician on a telemedicine platform.