Although it has been over four years since the Ayushman Bharat Arogya Karnataka (AB-ArK) health scheme was rolled out, awareness and knowledge about the scheme has still not reached all. A study by the Population Research Centre at Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in three districts in Karnataka has revealed that only about 56% of the respondents have heard about this health scheme.
Data from the households in Samnapur village from Yadgir, an aspirational district, Chikkonahally village of Tumakuru, a non-aspirational district and also a slum and non-slum area from Chandra Layout in Bengaluru was collected to assess awareness and knowledge about the scheme, said Professor C M Lakshmana from ISEC, who conducted the study.
Overall, 56.3% of the respondents had heard about the scheme. Three out of five respondents from Bengaluru Urban and Chikkonahally village (in Tumakuru) had heard of the scheme while about 43% had knowledge about the scheme in Samanpur village (Yadgir). Field surveys for the study were done between December 2022 and January 2023.
Source of information
“It was observed that male respondents from rural parts of Karnataka had heard of the scheme while in urban Karnataka, by contrast, most of the female respondents were aware of the scheme. When it comes to the source of information about the scheme, it was observed that nearly 5 out of 10 respondents, that is 50% of the respondents, had received the information about the scheme from health workers like Anganwadi, ASHA, ANM and others,” he said.
The source of information differed from villages to slum areas. In Samanpur village, 4 out of 5 respondents had received the information from the health workers. In Chikkonahally village, 54% were informed by health workers, and the village panchayat played a key role as 29% of the respondents received the information about the health scheme from there.
In urban localities, 56% of respondents from non-slum areas received the information from various sources of media like newspaper, television, mobile and social media. “This confirms that in urban areas, both electronic and print media have been the major source of information on various schemes and programmes of health awareness and knowledge,” Professor Lakshmana said.
“To some extent in urban areas, especially slums, there is a presence of NGOs which also played a key role in creating awareness on the government programmes in general and AB-ArK in particular. As a result, in the visited slum areas in Chandra Layout, the source of information on AB-ArK was 39% from health workers and a considerable number of slum dwellers had received information from an NGO — Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR),” he explained.
Knowledge about the scheme
In the urban locality, nearly half of the respondents stated that the programme was implemented by the Karnataka government while in the rural areas of Samanpur and Chikkonahally, they said the programme was implemented by the Central government.
Regarding knowledge on the eligibility for availing the benefit of AB-ArK, over half of the respondents were aware that all people, irrespective of their economic class, can avail the benefits of the programme. In Samanpur village and the non-slum area of Chandra Layout, nearly 47% believed that the programme could be availed only by BPL families. Overall, only 36% of respondents knew that AB-ArK is a cashless scheme and not more than 2% were aware that treatment upto ₹5 lakh can be availed under the scheme.