Status of maternal and child health services amongst migrants in Ludhiana slums – how far from the MDG targets?
Keywords:Migrant, Urban slum, Millennium development goals, Maternal and child health services
Background: It is essential to monitor the coverage of health interventions in subgroups of populations, especially the marginalized and those at higher risk, because national averages can hide important inequalities. This study was carried out to find out the utilization and coverage of MCH services among migrants in the slums of Ludhiana, Punjab.
Methods: Cross-sectional sample study. 370 women, who had childbirth within two years prior to the survey, were randomly selected from the 3947 newer migrant households in 30 slum settlements in Ludhiana surveyed for provision of health care, and information obtained from them with regard to MCH services availed by them for their last pregnancy and childbirth. Their children 12-23 months old, 195 in number, were studied for child health services.
Results: Antenatal care (ANC) was availed by 44.0% of the women, with 24.6% of them going for minimum 4 antenatal visits and 29.1% having an institutional delivery but only 35.9% by trained health personnel. Place of delivery was found to be a significant predictor of antenatal care. Women staying in Ludhiana availed the least ANC. Complete immunization coverage in the 12-23 month olds was 37.4%. Government health worker visited 7.8% of the homes.
Conclusions: Despite the relative proximity and concentration of health centers in urban compared to rural areas, migrant slum-dwellers are still not able to access quality MCH care. The problem of non-availability of essential healthcare and uneven distribution of skilled health care providers is the central challenge in meeting our health goals.
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