Utilization pattern of health services for non-communicable diseases in an urban slum: a study of Turbhe stores slum in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Sona Deshmukh, Shrikant K. Kalaskar, Suhas B. Kadam, Balu Mote, Srilatha K. Paslawar, Ambadas S. Adhav, Bharat S. Thakare, Thirumugam Muthuvel


Background: The growing burden of non-communicable diseases among the urban poor in the absence of affordable health care services is a big public health challenge in India. In this context, the present paper explores the utilization pattern of health services to deal with two specific non-communicable diseases (NCD) namely hypertension and diabetes.

Methods: The study was conducted in Turbhe Stores in Navi Mumbai, a slum of 5014 households.  An initial listing of the households revealed that there was at least one person suffering from either hypertension, diabetes or both in 254 households. By systematic random sampling, 84 respondents suffering from diabetes and/or hypertension from last one year were selected from these 254 households. Data was collected by structured interview schedule.

Results: Three fourths of the respondents had utilised health service for their problem. About 95% sought medical care from private providers and almost all sought approached allopathic practitioner. Only half of respondents went for regular monthly follow up and almost 75 percent were found self-medication of old prescriptions for their treatment. Poor follow up and non-regular utilization of health services was mainly influenced by the individual perception of not giving importance of regular treatment and lack of attention due to asymptomatic nature of disease, followed by financial constraints.

Conclusions: Self-awareness about the disease and importance of regular treatment & follow up is found lacking in the community. Health care services were regularly utilized for these silent diseases by those who can afford it. Factors like ability to afford costly treatment, high satisfaction level from the treatment sought and proximity of health care provider were found strongly associated with higher utilization.


Diabetes mellitus, Hypertension, Non-communicable diseases, Utilisation pattern, Urban slum

Full Text: