General strike (also known as hartal) is used as a mode of protest by organizations and political parties in India. It is generally thought that hartals negatively impact the healthcare delivery in a society. We used the Right to Information Act to obtain data from government health centers in Kerala state in India for four hartal days (H-day) and two control days (A-day and B-day) for each H-day, from sixteen health centers including 6 Community Health Center (CHC), 6 Secondary Health Center (SHC), and 4 Tertiary Health Center (THC). Data on emergency room visits was available for six HCs. 15 HCs had a statistically significant decrease in the number of outpatient visits on H-day. There was no difference in the number of outpatient visits between the two control days (A and B) in 15 HCs, suggesting the lack of a posthartal surge in visits. Median decrease in outpatient visits in CHCs, SHCs, and THCs was 50.4%, 59.5%, and 47.4%, respectively. Hartal did not impact the number of emergency room visits in 6 out of 7 health centers assessed. Our study identified a significant harmful impact on government healthcare delivery due to hartals in Kerala. These findings have major public health implications.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Jacob, Aasems; Weiss, Heidi L.; and Mathew, Aju, "The Impact of General Strike on Government Healthcare Delivery in Kerala State in India" (2016). Markey Cancer Center Faculty Publications. 62.