Child Health Indicators in Urban Slums

Suresh Kumar, J (2007) Child Health Indicators in Urban Slums. Masters thesis, Madras Medical College, Chennai.


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INTRODUCTION: In any community mothers and children constitute a priority group. In India women of the child bearing age group (15-44) years constitute 40 % and children under 15 years of age about 19 % of the total population 1. Together they contribute to nearly 59 % of the total population of the country. Mothers and children not only form a large group, but they are also a vulnerable or special risk group. The risk is connected with child bearing in the case of women; and growth and development and survival in case of infants and children. In developing countries 50 % of all deaths are occurring among children less than 5 years of age. Maternal and child health (MCH) services were started in the early 1950s with the aim of improving the health status of mother and children. To start with the programme concentrated on the antenatal, intra natal, and post natal care and to enhance mother and child survival. In 1992, the programme was re launched as the Child survival and safe motherhood programme with emphasis being on regular antenatal, intranatal, postnatal care, immunization, family welfare activities, nutritional services, promotion of breast feeding and proper health education, which has brought about drastic changes in the health indicators pertaining to mother and child Proper antenatal care including tetanus toxoid immunization, iron and folic acid supplementation combined with good intranatal and postnatal care followed by the early introduction of breast feeding can reduce the mortality and morbidity of children. But still neonatal deaths contribute to more than fifty per cent of infant deaths raising concern over the MCH services. Though the incidence and mortality due to ARI and AWD diseases have come down reasonably in recent years, they contribute significantly to morbidity of the children. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY: 1. To document the characteristics of urban slums 2. To document the characteristics of the family 3. Assess child health indicators 4. Evaluate the utilization of health services 5. To analyze correlation between slum characteristics and child health indicators. DISCUSSION: The large and continuous increase in India’s urban population and the concomitant growth of the population residing in slums has resulted in overstraining of infrastructure and deterioration in public health26. The link between urbanization, a degraded environment, inaccessibility to healthcare and a deteriorating quality of life is significant. An urban slum poses special health problems due to poverty, overcrowding, unhygienic surroundings and lack of an organized health infrastructure24. They lack basic amenities including safe water supply and proper sewage disposal. Siddarth, et al25 stressed the fact that disparities among slums exist due to various factors. This has led to varying degrees of health burden on children. Child health conditions in slums with inadequate services are worse in comparison to relatively better served slums. They focused on the importance of locating missed out slums and focusing on the neediest slums. As per Awasthi, et al26 most of the inhabitants of slums are migrants from rural areas and exposed to new environmental dynamics of poor housing, water supply and sanitation with poor access to health care. Determinants specific to childhood mortality in urban slums include maternal employment and in sanitary and unhygienic conditions. Addressing the inequalities in the distribution and access to basic amenities and health services with a focus on enhanced service coverage, improved sanitation and water supplies was proposed by Awasthi et al. Armida, et al24 suggested that although urban mortality statistics are comparatively better than the rural, there is a wide disparity between the urban rich and the urban poor and hence the existing urban statistics do not give a true representation of urban slums. Another major problem in urban slums is that unlike its rural counterpart there is no envisaged Primary Health Center with its planned network. In urban slum, multiple health authorities administer health services. Unfortunately, these services are not effectively organized, resulting in duplication of services in some areas and non- existence of health services in other areas. Hence this study was conducted in the slums of Chennai, to find out whether any differences existed in the characteristics of slums, child health indicators and also to assess the pattern of health services utilization. 2440 families were included in the study conducted in the ten zones of Chennai. CONCLUSION: 1. Creating awareness among people so that universal utilization of health services is achieved 2. Educating mothers about the importance of colostrum and exclusive breast feeding may help to bring down neonatal and infant mortality and morbidity 3. Measures to increase the iron and folic acid consumption of antenatal mothers and reduction in the number of home deliveries to reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity 4. Improvement in drainage and toilet facilities needed

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Child Health Indicators ; Urban Slums
Subjects: MEDICAL > Paediatrics
Depositing User: Ravindran C
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2018 07:17
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2018 07:17

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