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H1N1 influenza led to huge financial burden on patients: Study

New Delhi: A study by researchers at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), New Delhi has found that the recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza led to huge financial burden on patients in Delhi.

Dr Atul Kakar, Dr Atul Gogia, Dr Pratyush Kumar and Dr Anurag Sachan from the department of medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital recently conducted an observational study on 209 hospitalized patients of confirmed H1N1 swine flu infection, admitted at SGRH from January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015.

The study found that the expenditure incurred on the treatment of H1N1 influenza was 17 to 62 times of India’s monthly per capita income.

It was also found that hospitalization expenses were significantly lower in specially created isolation wards as compared to isolated single rooms with no difference in outcomes of the treatment.

According to the researchers, the mean duration of hospital stay was 7.35 days with a mortality of 10.5 percent. Taking Rs 7378.17 as India’s monthly per capita income, the mean expenditure in isolation ward was 17 times (Rs 1,25,429). In Isolated single room it was 22 times (Rs 1,62,320) and in ICU the mean expenditure was 62 times (Rs 4,57,447) of the monthly per capita income.

The study findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Current Medicine Research and Practice.

“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. Due to lack of any model to access its economic impact, it has been least understood. This led us to undertake this study to gauge H1N1’s economic impact on the common man,” said Dr Atul Kakar, author of the study and senior consultant, department of medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Dr Atul Gogia, co-author of the study and consultant, department of medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 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, in single isolated room it was Rs 1,62,320 and in ICU it was Rs 4,57,447. The expenditure increased with the increase in age.”

According to Dr Gogia, “All patients included in the study were confirmed cases of H1N1 diagnosed by RT-PCR and were in the category 2b and above needing hospitalization. Total hospital expenditure data was collected after discharge and duration of hospital stay and onset of illness till presentation to the hospital were also recorded. The H1N1 status of all patients were confirmed by RT-PCR test as well as in a government accredited laboratory.”

The study found that out of 209 patients, 54.3 percent were more than 40 years of age and 46 percent were female patients. A total of 52.9 percent patients had one or more co-existing medical conditions. Hypertension was found in 23 percent and diabetes in 22.5 percent patients of H1N1.

“Ours is the first report to give fair information regarding economic impact of H1N1 influenza. But 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. Preventive measures with vaccination before the start of epidemic would help to drastically reduce the cost of hospitalization and other socio-economic burden to the patient,” said Dr Atul Kakar.

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