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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-26

Access to health services among slum dwellers in an industrial township and surrounding rural areas: A rapid epidemiological assessment


Department of Community Medicine, D Y Patil Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Amitav Banerjee
Department of Community Medicine, D Y Patil Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: India Health Progress New Delhi (www.indiahealthprogress.in), Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.94444

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Context: The biggest challenge in implementing the primary health care principles is of equitable distribution of health care to all. The rural masses and urban slum dwellers are most vulnerable to lack of access to health care. Aim: To study access to health services among slum dwellers and rural population. Setting and Design: A cross-sectional survey in an urban slum and surrounding rural areas in field practice area of a medical college. Materials and Methods: Structured instrument along with qualitative techniques such as focus group discussions, were used to collect information on access and utilization of health services from 865 individuals of both sexes and all ages selected from urban slums, villages, and indoor and outdoor patients. Access to basic determinants of good health such as housing, water, and sanitation was also elicited. Besides, health needs based on self-reported disease conditions were compiled. Results: More than 50% of respondents were living in poor housing and insanitary conditions. Besides the burden of communicable diseases and malnutrition (especially in children), risk of lifestyle diseases as evidenced by high Body mass index in 25% of adults surveyed was found. Private medical practitioners were more accessible than government facilities. More than 60% sought treatment from private medical facilities for their own ailments (for sickness in children this proportion was 74%). People who visited government facilities were more dissatisfied with the services (30.88%) than those who visited private facilities (18.31%). This difference was significant (OR=1.99, 95% confidence interval 1.40 to 2.88; χ2 =15.95, df=1, P=0.007). The main barriers to health care identified were waiting time long, affordability, poor quality of care, distance, and attitude of health workers. Conclusion: The underprivileged in India continue to have poor access to basic determinants of good health as well as to curative services from government sources during illness.


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