Women have a slightly lower chance of falling sick compared to men, but they lose more days at work from being ill, a new study on Indian healthcare system by Global Development Network says.
According to the study, women work fewer days in a year and as a result, lose almost 15 per cent of their work days to illness, while men lose only six per cent.
"Being ill, therefore, has a greater impact on a woman's income than that of a man. On the other hand, women's health expenditures tend to increase more compared to men," the GDN Working Paper 'Managing Healthcare Provision and Health Outcomes through Local Governance' says.
The paper reveals significant positive impact of local governance and empowerment of women, and complex and sometimes surprising similarities in illness and treatment impact on men and women.
"Sickness is significantly reduced through improved access to drinking water, clean surroundings and awareness about health campaigns. These factors reduce the use of public and private healthcare, as well as private health expenditures," it says.
GDN is a New Delhi-based public international organisation that builds research capacity in development globally.
The study says that a family's inherited wealth reduces the incidence of illness almost equally for both men and women and reduces private health expenditures slightly more for women than for men.
"This is suggestive of some discrimination within families with regard to healthcare access," says the study.
Individual empowerment as a result of inheritance of land by a woman has an overall positive impact on her health and use of healthcare, it says.
While in terms of access to health facilities, women are not at a disadvantage, they benefit significantly in terms of health from individual empowerment through land inheritance, it says.
The study also finds significant positive impact on both men and women due to political empowerment of women as a result of the reservation of the Pradhan's (chief councilor) position for women.