Untreated Reproductive Morbidities among Ever Married Women of Slums of Rajkot City, Gujarat: The Role of Class, Distance, Provider Attitudes, and Perceived Quality of Care
It is a common problem in India for women in the reproductive age group to suffer from reproductive illnesses and not seek care. This paper is an attempt to assess untreated reproductive morbidities and to study factors affecting treatment-seeking behavior among ever married women of urban slums. We selected 1,046 women of the reproductive age group (15–49 years) using two-stage cluster sampling for a community-based, cross-sectional study. From this sample, 593 responses reporting reproductive morbidity were analyzed for treatment-seeking behavior and its correlates. Information was collected on demographics, socioeconomic status, self-reported reproductive morbidity, and treatment-seeking patterns, along with reasons for not utilizing available health services, all using a pretested, structured interview schedule. Univariate and multivariate analyses were done in SPSS 15.0. In our sample, 57% of women had at least one reproductive morbidity; of these, only one third sought health care. Women belonging to the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes caste group (OR = 3.92, 95% CI 1.44–10.64), at a distance of more than 2 km from a health facility (OR = 2.67, 95% CI 1.28–5.58), and whose duration of illness was more than 1 year (OR = 14.44, 95% CI 3.66–56.87) accessed fewer reproductive health services compared to their counterparts. The present study found that a lower sense of need, the cost of care, and societal barriers were the reasons for not seeking care. Providers’ poor attitudes, poor quality of services, and long waiting times were found to be the reasons for not utilizing health facilities. The determinants for accessing reproductive health care were resources available at the household level, social factors, the availability of services, and behaviors related to health. Government facilities remained underutilized.
KeywordsReproductive health Urban slums Gujarat India Surat Maternal and child health Health policy Untreated morbidity Health seeking
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