On one of my blogs I said I would tell you about the Healthcare system and Bindi (the dots on Indians forehead).

Bindi:

It is a sign of marriage. When you are a married female you put a dot or bindi on your forehead. They have different colors I suppose to go with outfits. If you are a widow you are not allowed to wear bindis or any jewelry for that matter. In fact, historically only married women were allowed to wear jewelry at all. Now things have modernized and it is very common to see women of all ages wear a lot of jewelry. I mean a lot! Indian women wear: multiple toe rings, a ring on each finger sometimes, even men wear multiple rings on each hand. They will also have a nose piercing, and multiple ear piercings as well as bangles up to their mid forearm sometimes. I have never seen a woman in a sari that did not have at least 10 bangles. (Saris are worn as everyday attire, mostly by older or middle aged women, but it is not just for special occasions.) This is the Indian way. It’s beautiful. I am too lazy to put on that much jewelry everyday but it looks nice.

Indian Healthcare system:

I was not in the allopathic healthcare system much; I am in India to study complementary and alternative methods so I do not have a ton to say on this. However, the most astonishing fact I learned was that the Government medical school systems are better than the private ones, as such one of the best Government medical schools in India had 1 million applicant for 100 spots!!!! Can you imagine! That really puts into perspective how many people live in India if 1 million of them want to apply to medical school. Kuddos to those who beat out the other 99,900 that probably wouldn’t have been me.

There is no health insurance in India. I take that back, there is insurance but most people do not use it – it’s expensive. There is no insurance for private practice. The insurance companies only cover establishments with inpatient services. A lot of the hospitals that do have contracts with insurance companies try to exploit them and charge them for tests not needed to make money off of them:( The average Indian pays for all services out of pocket. It is not expensive relative to America but as you can imagine, the Indians believe it is. The average in-patient stay costs about 2,500 Rupees about 50 bucks a night. The average CT scan is less than $20 I believe. Private practice is even cheaper. One visit to the doctor with no procedures and injections costs 200 rupees – $4. To equate it to American terms, paying 200 rupees for something is like paying $20 for something. For example, I bought a skirt for 200 rupees at the bazaar. So it is not expensive but as in most countries there is a disconnect between the patient and Doctor.

I have often heard the average Indian complain that the Doctor only cares about money. One person told me that if a patient dies the Doctor should not ask for money. If the Doctor did their job the patient would be alive and then they can ask for money. Since the patient is dead they did not do their job and should not ask for money from the family who just lost someone. Of course this makes complete sense, outside of medicine. I understood the person completely and empathized with them. Unfortunately, my Doctor side knows that it probably cost more to keep that person alive as long as they were able to. A dyeing person costs a lot more in resources than a healthy person. Though it doesn’t seem fair, in order for the system to continue to work someone has to pay those costs and will no insurance support, it falls on the patient. It’s a very interesting dynamic here between patient and doctor.

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