Reproductive health needs and care seeking behaviour of pavement dwellers of Calcutta.

Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Calcutta.
Journal of the Indian Medical Association 04/2001; 99(3):142-3, 145.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An unabated growth of street dwellers in the city of Calcutta is reported to be due to twin reasons like, migration of rural poor people as well as uncontrolled fertility among these poor settlers of the city. A community-based study on reproductive health, fertility and related care seeking behaviour was studied among a sample of women of child bearing age living on streets of Calcutta. Besides, the quite common conditions like leucorrhoea (28.5%), menstrual irregularities (12.3%), infertility (2.5%) and STDs (1.3%) were also reported. But most of these illnesses (three-fourth) were uncared for, and the remaining one-fourth sought treatment from govemment institutions, private agencies or even from untrained practitioners (quacks). The reproductive behaviour of street dwelling women was characterised by early marriage, teenage pregnancies, and scarce use of contraceptives (32%) as well as frequent abortions (2.8%). Very few pregnant women received adequate antenatal care (3.8%). Coverage of tetanus toxoid immunisation (68.5%) and proper iron and folic acid supplementation (16.7%) were also poor. Whereas, antenatal care was received mostly from government health institutions (71%), home delivery (ie, on street) was a common practice and conducted mostly by untrained birth attendants (51.8%).

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