Geographical Inequalities in Access to Public Healthcare Facilities in Rural West Bengal: Exploring Major Health System Challenges
Keywords:Inequality, Access, Public Healthcare System, Quality of Healthcare, Gini-Coefficient, Co-Efficient of Variation.
AbstractGeographical inequality in access to healthcare services is profound in West Bengal. This study aims to assess spatial inequalities in access to public healthcare services in rural West Bengal. Two geographically distinct community development (CD) blocks have been taken as case studies, i.e., Kaliaganj and Goalpokhar-I in Uttar Dinajpur district. Both primary and secondary databases were used for this analysis, and mixed method approaches were used to assess the healthcare services. The findings show that a skewed geographical distribution of healthcare services within the State and districts has had a significant negative impact on rural communities. The existing rural-urban inequality in health services is remarkably evident, and people from rural backgrounds face difficulty during emergency health episodes due to a lack of healthcare services, poor physical accessibility, etc. Geographical location emerged as a significant factor in the inequality in access to health services in West Bengal.
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