Reproductive and Child Health Inequities in Chandigarh Union Territory of India
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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.
KeywordsChild health Inequity Reproductive health Slums Urban.
This study was funded by the Health Department, Union Territory, Chandigarh, India.
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