White paper on the state of health of Delhi

  • Dengue deaths increased by almost seven times from 2014 (74) to 2015 (486).
  • From 2014 to 2016, Delhi saw an average of 5,89,683 cases of diarrhoea annually. As many as 41% of deaths due to diarrhoea were of children 4 years of age or younger.
  • 22% of the total diarrhoea cases were in Rural Narela Zone alone.
  • There were 7,985 institutional deaths due to tuberculosis in 2014 and 2015.
  • In 2016-17, the average Delhi household spent an estimated Rs. 1,07,793 as annual expenses on health.
  • Only 15% of citizens are estimated to have health insurance.

26th July, Delhi: Cases of diarrhoea and hypertension spiked in Delhi from 2015 to 2016, a white paper on the state of health of Delhi published by NGO Praja Foundation revealed. Diarrhoea cases increased from 5,64,416 in 2015 to 6,22,480 in 2016, and the city registered an average of 5,89,683 cases from 2014 to 2016. Hypertension cases increased from 3,22,510 in 2015 to 3,61,443 in 2016.

Even as the capital has seen an extremely high number of diarrhoea cases in the past three years, citizens lodged a large number of complaints about polluted water in 2016, indicating that people had raised concerns about the issue to the authorities. Among various civic issues, the maximum number (2,27,444) of civic complaints in 2016 by far were on water supply. These constituted 50% of the total complaints in that year.

This data was procured by Praja Foundation under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

Speaking about these findings, Milind Mhaske, Project Director of Praja Foundation, said, “While apathy on the part of citizens is often a factor which comes in the way of ensuring accountable governance, this was clearly not the case when it came to diarrhoea in Delhi. These statistics indicate that people did raise a red flag over polluted water, but the authorities paid little heed.”

Zone-wise data collected by the organisation revealed that Rohini Zone of North Delhi Municipal Corporation had the highest number of (8,599) cases for Dengue in the last three years (26% of the total). With respect to tuberculosis also, Rohini Zone saw the highest number (74,477) of cases for Tuberculosis in the last three years. The cases in Rohini Zone alone constituted 33% of the total cases of tuberculosis in that year. Rural Narela zone had the highest number of (3,84,401) cases for Diarrhoea in the last three years. The cases in Rural Narela constituted 22 % of the total diarrhoea cases in Delhi.

The white paper also included estimated data on the household expenditure incurred on health by Delhi citizens. This data was collected through a survey commissioned by Praja to research organisation Hansa Research. Shockingly, the average Delhi household spent an estimated amount of Rs. 1,07,793 on healthcare in 2016-17. Further, only 15% of citizens were estimated to have health insurance.

“This means that while on one hand, authorities are not taking enough preventable measures to check the spread of diseases, citizens are spending humungous amounts of money on their healthcare needs. Further, as highlighted by the data, health risks disproportionately affect poorer households,” Anjali Srivastava, Assistant Manager at Praja Foundation, said.

Even as the city continues to see very high cases of major diseases, the responses of elected representatives to several of these diseases appears to be inadequate. For instance, medical relief and public health committee councillors did not raise even a single issue on tuberculosis from April 2015 to December 2016. Similarly, MLAs also did not raise even a single issue on tuberculosis from the time of their election on 24th February, 2015 to 15th November, 2016.

“In order for concrete steps to be taken to improve the state of public health, it is absolutely essential that there should be a proper data management system on various diseases. There is no way that the authorities in charge of running Delhi can confront the various health challenges confronting the city unless they have a clear idea about their magnitude,” Milind Mhaske said.

About PRAJA Foundation:

PRAJA was founded in 1997 with a vision to re-establish accountability and transparency in governance. Fuelled by a concern about a general lack of interest among the Citizens’ in the local Government; Praja aims to create awareness among the citizens, and therefore empower them though the knowledge.

PRAJA believes that the availability of information can go a long way towards simplifying people’s lives and evoking participation. This aims to ensure a holistic approach for ushering good governance must have buy in of our ideas from the elected representatives. At the same time, there should be tools and mechanisms which enable citizens to keep a close watch on the work done by their elected representatives. PRAJA’s goals are simplifying people’s lives, empowering the citizens and Government with facts and creating instruments of change to improve the quality of life of citizens in India. PRAJA is committed to creating an accountable and efficient society through people’s participation.

 For media queries

Please contact:  Priyanka Sharma (+91 – 99308 11106);

Anjali Srivastava (+91—8588063391)

Email ID: – media@praja.org.

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