In its latest report, Oxfam highlighted that India's healthcare services are hurting poor and low-income Indians. TRT World visits one of the country's biggest hospitals to find out whether Oxfam's findings translate on the ground.

It is past 10pm and Abdul Rehman, a labourer from the eastern Indian state of Bihar, sits on a thin blanket while his ailing son sleeps next to him on the subway floor outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), one of India's largest government-run hospitals. His 15-year-old son Sadiq is suffering from a disease that has caused his teeth to fall out. He has only four left now.

The teenager went through three back-to-back surgeries over six months in AIIMS last year. “My son is not keeping well for several months now and complain of severe pain in his jaws, so I thought we should come for a checkup. Doctors at AIIMS recommend some kind of therapy,” says Rehman.

If they cannot pay they can suffer fatal consequences

While the wealthiest 10 percent of Indians own three-quarters of India's total wealth, thanks to low interest rates, the government spends just 1 percent of its GDP on the health sector, an extreme contrast compared to the global average of 6 percent. According to Oxfam's latest report, 63 million Indians are pushed into poverty every year, and they are either forced to pay for healthcare services or if they simply cannot pay they can eventually suffer fatal consequences.

Sarvesh Devi from Ghaziabad suffers from throat cancer. Devi along with her husband Amarpal Goswami, who works as a rickshaw driver, has been staying outside the hospital for four days.“My wife cannot travel much. She feels dizzy after walking a few steps,” said Goswami. “I requested the doctors to admit her, but they refused and instead prescribed some medicines. So we are left with no choice but to stay outside the hospital.”

1.6 million Indians died due to poor quality of care

According to a recent study, compiled by 30 public health experts from across the world and supported by the Gates Foundation and the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, 1.6 million Indians died due to poor quality of care in 2016.Founded in 1956, AIIMS is known to treat 1.5 million outpatients and 80,000 inpatients annually.“It is very unfortunate that some patients have to stay outside the AIIMS,” said Biplab Mishra.“The AIIMS is catering patients more than 15 times of its capacity,” 

“Patients don’t visit the AIIMS just in winters. We need to find a permanent solution to this problem. We have time and again asked the authorities to provide us land for permanent shelters that have a capacity of accommodating over a thousand people. Unfortunately, they are not interested in it,” Rai added.