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Study on Maternal Morbidity and Treatment Seeking Behaviour of the Urban Poor in Bhubaneswar Slums


  • Jatin Dhingra
  • Agency : Maternal Morbidity, Urban Poor, Bhubaneswar Slums
  • Objective : The objectives of the study are as follows: To estimate the maternal morbidity in Bhubaneswar slums, to identify the treatment seeking behavior in maternal complications and to determine perceptions and attitudes affecting the choice of health care provider- public or private



  • Background : Even as the Indian economy remains one of the bright spots in the world showing an upward growth trajectory, around 49000 slums continue to blight the urban landscape forcing lakhs of people to live in pathetic conditions (according to a report released by NSSO). An analysis of population growth trending between 1991 and 2001 shows that while India grew at an average annual growth rate of 2%, urban India grew at 3%, mega cities at 4% and slum populations rose by 5%. This rapid and unplanned urbanization has a visible impact on the quality of life of the slum dwellers of the city.  



  • Methodology : A cross sectional survey across Bhubaneswar slums was conducted using quantitative research methods. Even married 150 women in the reproductive age group of 15-49 who had delivered in past 2 years preceding the survey were chosen as the primary respondents. The slums were selected by purposive sampling while random sampling was used to select the respondents.



  • Findings : : It was found that, private providers were preferred choice for outpatient treatment of the study population. The primary reasons for underutilization of public sector were long waiting times (42.5%), distance of the facility (37.5%), uncourteous staff (14.2%) and high rate of absenteeism (4.6%). On the contrary, the public sector is preferred for inpatient treatment because of lower cost (60%). Though 92% of women received antenatal care, but of poor quality. Despite various efforts to increase institutional deliveries, 49% of the women delivered at home with around 75% of these being assisted by untrained dais. This should really raise an alarm because unskilled birth attendants do not maintain the required asepsis thereby, risking the lives of women and their newborn children. The state of postnatal care is miserable with only 5% of the respondents admitting to have visited by health personnel within 48 hours of delivery.




  • Recommendations : The study ascertains the fact that the public health system needs to be re-oriented to have a more needs based approach. Strict measures must be taken to improve the accessibility, affordability, acceptability and accountability of the public sector. Further efforts must be made to involve all the major stakeholders in policy framing, planning and implementation.



The objectives of the study are as follows: To estimate the maternal morbidity in Bhubaneswar slums, to identify the treatment seeking behavior in maternal complications