Reality Check: Who Has Better Healthcare, Uttar Pradesh or Kerala?

Does Kerala actually need lessons in healthcare from Yogi’s UP or the opposite needs to happen?

Health News
3 min read

On Wednesday, October 4, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asserted, “Kerala must learn from Uttar Pradesh how hospitals should be run.”

This comes less than two months after a government-run hospital in Gorakhpur made headlines for the death of scores of children. The spread of encephalitis in the district, which incidentally has been Adiyanath’s constituency for five terms, has claimed several lives. What’s more interesting is how Uttar Pradesh lags far behind Kerala when it comes to healthcare indicators.

Adityanath made the statement in response to a tweet by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s party, CPI(M), which seemed like a dig at the Gorakhpur fiasco.

Adityanath based his comments on the rise of dengue cases in Kerala at a time when mosquito-borne diseases are wreaking havoc across the country.

But are the hospitals and healthcare statistics in UP really worth emulating?


Breaking Down the Dengue Numbers

In a year, in Kerala, from dengue, there have been more than 300 deaths. Uttar Pradesh is such a big state, yet it had fewer deaths from dengue. Many people have died from Chikungunya here, there hasn’t been a single Chikungunya death in Uttar Pradesh. These people are hiding the realities here.
Yogi Adityanath, UP CM

Here are the numbers that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has officially put out.

Does Kerala actually need lessons in healthcare from Yogi’s UP or the opposite needs to happen?

The part about 300 dengue deaths isn’t factual. While the official ministry website shows the number of deaths as 28, according to a reply in the Kerala State Assembly the number is 207 since it also includes the ones whose cause was suspected to be dengue, but was not confirmed.

Sticking to the 28 figure for 2017 for Kerala, the state’s ratio of dengue deaths in percentage comes to approximately 0.17%. Whereas UP’s dengue death ratio in percentage comes to approximately 5.6%.

While dengue has in fact hit Kerala hard this year, the numbers have been exaggerated by the UP CM. Whereas authorities all across the country refuse to link any deaths to chikungunya, which is the case in Kerala as well.

If one sees the number of dengue and chikungunya cases from last year, UP had a much higher incidence of both, but Kerala tops the list now in terms of real numbers.

Some experts say that these high numbers in Kerala are actually because of a good surveillance system in the state and that there’s massive under-reporting in other states including UP.

Kerala’s Health Indicators Way Better Than UP’s

However, the spread of these diseases speaks more about the spread of mosquitoes and public sanitation, than about delivery of healthcare in the state.

The indicators which actually show how a state’s healthcare system fares are in favour of Kerala.

Does Kerala actually need lessons in healthcare from Yogi’s UP or the opposite needs to happen?

For UP, indicators like infant mortality rate and under-five mortality rate are way below the country’s average and similar to poorer African nations.

Whereas for Kerala, these are way better than the country’s average and are comparable to developed nations like the United States. The UP statistics not just trail Kerala’s, but lag by a huge margin.


Hitting out at Yogi’s statement, Vijayan had also posted a series of tweets highlighting Kerala’s impressive healthcare stats and thrashing UP’s desolate ones.

The numbers don’t agree with the UP CM’s statements, and rather point out to how his state needs lessons from Kerala.


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