Study on social impact of free health service in Sri Lanka
Statistical data and the sense of community show a gap of total health expenditure and public health expenditure. This gap shows the problem of sustainability of free health and has created several problems on patients who visit the government hospital for their healthcare needs and health development in community.
This study is focused to clear out the disparity of the health policy by identifying the obstacles to obtain free healthcare facilities from state sector healthcare institutions, and to clarify evidently the circulation of additional amount of money in health service other than public health expenditure creating problems of free health service.
Questioner was the instrument used in primary data collection. Responses were analyzed with income levels. Availability of hospital facilities, mode of spending, utility of private and government health facilities, aptitude on current health trends and prevention healthcare were surveyed. Secondary data analysis also carried out based on WHO reports, reports of Ministry of Health and other international reports.
Primary data indicated inadequate facilities in state hospitals. Out of admitted patients 72% were requested some drugs and laboratory tests from outside. Every respondent spends some amount of money monthly for their health needs, even among low income levels. Only 21% was alert on preventive health care. Out of the respondents who utilize the private health care services 78% pay their expenditure from out of pocket. It includes both people with high income levels as well as low income levels. Secondary data analysis could justify the present situation of the country health. Public health expenditure share of total health expenditure is always less than 50%.
The research realized that all income levels utilize private sector for their health care needs. Most of people who utilize the private sector pay their bills out of pocket. These evidences show the disparity of free health policy and the nature of persisting health care service. Complete understand on this complicated underlying reality of health should be concerned in provision of sustainable health care service.