Article

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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    • "Bangladesh has experienced one of the highest rates (>6% per year) of urban population growth in the last three decades compared to the national population growth rate of about 1.5% per year [1-4]. The numbers of the urban poor and street-dwellers are likely to increase at least in proportion to the overall population growth [2,4-6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background In almost every major urban city, thousands of people live in overcrowded slums, streets, or other public places without any health services. Bangladesh has experienced one of the highest rates of urban population growth in the last three decades compared to the national population growth rate. The numbers of the urban poor and street-dwellers are likely to increase at least in proportion to the overall population growth of the country. The street-dwellers in Bangladesh are extremely vulnerable in terms of their health needs and healthcare-seeking behaviours. In Bangladesh, there is no health service-delivery mechanism targeting this marginalized group of people. This study, therefore, assessed the effectiveness of two models to provide primary healthcare (PHC) services to street-dwellers. Methods This study of experimental pre-post design tested two models, such as static clinic and satellite clinics, for providing PHC services to street-dwellers in the evening through paramedics in Dhaka city during May 2009-April 2010. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used for collecting data. Data were analyzed comparing before and after the implementation of the clinics for the assessment of selected health and family-planning indicators using the statistical t-test. Services received from the model l and model 2 clinics were also compared by calculating the absolute difference to determine the relative effectiveness of one model over another. Results The use of healthcare services by the street-dwellers increased at endline compared to baseline in both the model clinic areas, and the difference was highly significant (p < 0.001). Institutional delivery among the female street-dwellers increased at endline compared to baseline in both the clinic areas. The use of family-planning methods among females also significantly (p < 0.001) increased at endline compared to baseline in both the areas. Conclusions As the findings of the study showed the promise of this approach, the strategies could be implemented in all other cities of Bangladesh and in other countries which encounter similar problems.
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