, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 291-299
Date: 16 Jan 2008

Reproductive and Child Health Inequities in Chandigarh Union Territory of India

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Abstract

Health inequity is an emerging issue all over the world. Some populations living in specific geographic areas may have less access to basic health facilities. Therefore, a sample survey of households was carried out to study access of different population groups to reproductive and child health. Cluster sampling technique was used to select 30 clusters (18 urban, 9 slum, and 3 rural) from Chandigarh Union Territory in India. From each of these clusters, 40 households were selected randomly. Data were collected using a standard questionnaire developed by UNICEF from April to June 2006 by graduate male and female field workers who were specially recruited and trained for this purpose. A total of 5383 individuals were studied in 1200 sample households with proportionate representation from urban (56%), slum (33%), and rural (11%) areas. Literacy rate was higher (94.3%) in urban than the rural (80.6%) and slum (65.3%) areas. About 68% of the deliveries were at home and not assisted by a skilled birth attendant (nurse, midwife, or doctor) in the slums, compared to 21% and 7% in rural and urban areas (p < 0.001), respectively. Fully immunized children at the age of 2 years were 30% in slums as compared to 74% and 62.5% in urban and rural areas (p < 0.001), respectively. Hib vaccination, which is to be bought at a considerable cost, was nil in slum areas compared to 79% in urban and 45% in rural area. Contraceptive prevalence was significantly more in urban (73%) and rural areas (75%) compared to the slum areas (53.4%) (p < 0.05). It was concluded that reproductive and child health service coverage has large differences in various population groups. Special interventions should be undertaken on a priority basis to bridge the gaps so as to achieve millennium development goals in all population groups.