Traditional wisdom is that because women are less likely to be breadwinners, especially in families of limited means (who are primarily the targeted PMJAY beneficiaries), families are more reluctant to pay for their treatment.

There is a gender gap in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Of the 15,168 hospital admissions under PMJAY across India, 10,744 were men and 4,421 women.

One year into Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), heart surgery data from the tertiary care arm of Ayushman Bharat show a gender skew, with women comprising just 29 per cent of total hospital admissions in the country for cardiothoracic and vascular surgery (CTVS) procedures. The National Health Authority (NHA) is looking at incentives such as paying for transportation cost of women patients to close the gap.

Of the 15,168 hospital admissions under PMJAY across India, 10,744 were men and 4,421 women. States such as Tripura (13.33%) and Karnataka (23.45%) are lower than the national average, while the best figure is from matrilineal Meghalaya, where 65% of the total 35 heart surgeries under PMJAY were done on women.

Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23 last year, PMJAY is the largest government-funded health insurance scheme in the world, under which the target is to provide 10.74 crore families with annual health insurance of Rs 5 lakh. With a fifth of the intended beneficiaries reached so far, more than 50 lakh secondary and tertiary level treatments worth Rs 7,901 crore have already been funded under PMJAY. More than 60 per cent of the amount spent has been on tertiary care, with cardiology, orthopaedics, radiation oncology, CTVS and urology having emerged as the top tertiary specialities.

While there is a difference in the pattern of heart disease in men and women — it develops 7-10 years later in women than in men, though in women above 65 years it remains a major cause of death — cardiologists say this alone does not explain the dramatic gap in hospitalisation figures. Traditional wisdom is that because women are less likely to be breadwinners, especially in families of limited means (who are primarily the targeted PMJAY beneficiaries), families are more reluctant to pay for their treatment. However, PMJAY is cashless for beneficiaries.

Courtesy The Indian Express