New Delhi: The outbreak of H1N1 in India in the opening months of the year had a huge socio-economic impact with the expenditure incurred by patients on their treatment being 17 to 62 times of India's monthly per capita income, according to a study.
The study was carried out on 209 hospitalised swine flu patients from January 1 to March 31, 2015.
The H1N1 influenza outbreak caused various problems with huge financial burden on individuals as well as insurance providers, the study found.
"The recent outbreak of H1N1 affected healthy adults besides patients with high risk factors thus causing panic among large sections of the population. It led to substantial health burden and had huge implications ranging from closure of schools to low productivity," said the study carried out by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH).
The expenditure incurred by patients on their treatment was 17 to 62 times of India's monthly per capita income, the study said.
"Our study found that minimum expenditure for admitted patients of H1N1 patient was Rs 10,004 and maximum was Rs 19,85,428. Mean expenditure in isolation ward was Rs 1,25,429, single isolated room was Rs 1,62,320 and in ICU it was Rs 4,57,447. The expenditure increased with increase in age. Hospital expenses in specially created Isolation Ward was much lower than Isolated Single Rooms," Dr Atul Gogia said.
The doctors said that this is the first report to give fair information on the economic impact of H1N1 influenza.
However, the actual economic burden of H1N1 could be much higher as the study could not take into account absenteeism from work or school and decrease in production and tourism.
Dr Atul Kakar, author of the study and senior consultant at SGRH said preventive measures with vaccination before the start of epidemic would help drastically reduce the cost of hospitalisation and socio-economic burden on the patient.
According to Dr Atul Gogia, co-author of the study and consultant, "All patients included in the study were confirmed cases of H1N1 diagnosed by RT-PCR and were in the category needing hospitalisation. Total hospital expenditure data was collected after discharge and duration of hospital stay and onset of illness till presentation to the hospital."
Out of 209 patients studied, 54.3 per cent were more than 40 years of age and 46 per cent were women. A total of 52.9 per cent patients had one or more co-existing medical conditions.
Hypertension was found in 23 per cent and diabetes in 22.5 per cent patients of H1N1.
The study was carried out by Dr Atul Kakar, Dr Atul Gogia, Dr Pratyush Kumar and Dr Anurag Sachan from Department of Medicine at SGRH and has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Current Medicine Research and Practise.