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Chronic Disease, Disability, and Medical Costs among Older Adults in India


Sanjay Basu

The researchers conducted a series of studies using nationally-representative data from the recent WHO Study on Global Aging and Adult Health (SAGE) to identify the relationship between NCD-related disability among adults over 50 years of age in India and healthcare utilization and costs. The study to date has found that older rural women were disproportionately affected by non-diagnosed NCDs, with high out of pocket healthcare expenditures increasing the probability of remaining symptomatic from NCDs. The study also investigated disparities in NCD disability across the income gradient and found that rural and lower-income populations were more likely to have NCDs that were not captured by typical surveys that only asked for formally-diagnosed NCDs; rather, the SAGE study, by including validated symptom scales to diagnose several NCDs, revealed a high prevalence of undiagnosed NCDs among the poor, and a higher prevalence of several NCDs among these lower-income groups.