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Women in India are nearly 40 times more likely to die after being assaulted compared to their female peers in the US, say scientists, citing delayed medical attention as one of the reasons behind the risk.
Researchers from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, University Of Pittsburg in the US and Karolinska Institute in Sweden found a great disparity in risk of death emerged for Indian and US women who had been assaulted - a difference they described as "unparallelled."
A comparative analysis of trauma data from both the countries suggests that women in India who have been assaulted may not seek medical attention promptly.
The study points to reliable evidence suggesting that only one in four female victims of assault in India actively seek care after experiencing intimate partner violence.
Pre-hospital care services are also not likely to be as well developed as they are in the US, added to which women from low income households may not be able to afford the treatment they need, researchers said.
"The higher odds of death for Indian females compared with US females suggest that there are other injuries and systemic factors that contribute to this discrepancy in mortality odds," they said.
Comparative analysis also showed that Indian men were more likely to die after sustaining injuries than either Indian women or US men and women. And US men were three times as likely to die after sustaining a fall than were US women.
Researchers noted that both men and women in the US had between five and seven times lower odds of dying after a fall or a road traffic accident than did their counterparts in India.
They pointed to previous studies showing that men tend to be more badly affected than women after sustaining trauma, but it is not clear whether this is due to differences in injury type or in recovery.
The team drew on information submitted to Indian (11,670 cases) and US (14,155 cases) trauma databases for 2013 to 2015 for the top three causes of injury: falls; road traffic accidents; and assaults.
The Indian database comprised of patients at four hospitals in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi. The US database included patients treated at three level 1 trauma centres in the medium sized city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The study was published in the journal British Medical Journal Global Health.