Two-third NCD patients faced challenges in accessing health care in Odisha's Khurda during COVID-19 pandemic: Study

A mixed-method study was conducted in Khurda district of Odisha to explore the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on NCD care
COVID-19 | Pic: Pixabay
COVID-19 | Pic: Pixabay

A study has revealed that nearly two-thirds of patients suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) faced difficulties in accessing medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A mixed-method study was conducted in Khurda district of Odisha to explore the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on NCD care. The study was carried out during May-June 2020 collectively by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Regional Medical Research Centre and Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar.

"A community-based explanatory mixed-method study was followed. Data was collected comprising of 12 in-depth interviews and 491 structured interviews using Likert-questionnaire with individuals having at least one NCD," stated an online journal of Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR).

NCD conditions like cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic repiratory disease (CRD), diabetes and cancer (n=491) were included in the study; 229 (47%) were from rural and 262 (53%) urban settings, respectively.

Findings revealed that nearly two-thirds of participants encountered challenges in their routine investigation, day-care procedures and reaching hospital while around half of them reported having trouble in doctor appointments, emergency treatment, access to the pharmacy and delay in healthcare.

"According to the participants, during the COVID-19 pandemic, diagnostic services (n=187, 38 per cent) were among the most significant barriers towards seeking treatment for NCD conditions and doctor consultation (n=93, 19 per cent) was the second most difficult challenge," stated the findings.

"Around 15 per cent (n=74) faced problems accessing emergency care while 14 per cent (n=69) had some difficulties either in visiting hospitals or purchasing medicines. Approximately 37 per cent (n=182) perceived that they were not able to take care of their chronic illnesses because of the prevailing social restriction or lockdown," it added.

According to the study, 29 per cent (n=142) reported financial arrangement as a constraint towards visiting hospitals and 16 per cent (n=79) feared going to hospital apprehending of getting COVID-19 infection.

The study showed that people with chronic NCDs faced multiple challenges in accessing health care during the pandemic and suggested a cohesive doctor-pharmacy-patient engagement for managing NCD care during a pandemic. It also advocated health literacy and home-based NCD management.

Related Stories

No stories found.