June - 2012 Vol. 2, No. 2 Issue
Pak J Public Health Vol. 2 No.2 (June) 2012
A mixed method research for assessment of health and social indicators in urban slums of Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Nasir Mahmood1, Ghulam Nabi Kazi2, Shahzad Ali Khan3, Zafar Iqbal Gondal1
1Punjab Health Department, Pakistan. 2World Health Organization, Pakistan. 3Health Systems and Policy Department, Health Services Academy, Islamabad. Correspondence to Mahmood N: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Introduction: In Pakistan an increased rural to urban migration has created problems of planning and development in urban areas and resulted in increased slum area. This research was conducted with the background that health inequalities both between and within countries persist, and slums have very poor health and social indicators. This study was done in slums of Rawalpindi where slums comprise about 17 % of total population of Rawalpindi city.
Methods: It was a mixed method study; initially a quantitative survey with sample of two thousand women was done through a semi-structured questionnaire and later on focus group discussions were conducted for qualitative research. Six focus groups discussions were conducted; four with housewives of slum areas, one with General Practitioners and one with elected political representatives. Survey data was analysed in SPSS-16.
Results: Results showed high level of illiteracy with 63.2% men and 75.3.4% women having no education. About 30% of women married within age of 15-24 years had four or more children. Most families had only one working member. Most common occupations (36.5%) were street vendors, garbage collectors, trash vendor and daily wage labourer; and 17% were unemployed. Most houses had electricity (95%) and toilets (94%) inside their house. Many children had an episode of diarrhea (66%) or ARI (38%) in the preceding month. About 49% of the houses reported that nearest government health facility is within one kilometre distance, while for 23% houses, there was no government health facility within 5 kilometres distance. About 34% of uneducated mothers had four or more children while only 1.4% of those with higher education had 4 or more children. Less educated mothers were breast feeding their children completely and half of them were starting weaning at appropriate time. Positive relationship was there between mother education and children going to school; less diarrhoea and ARI, while there was negative relationship of mother's education on breastfeeding. The results were significant.
Conclusion: The research indicated health inequalities that need to be factored in the planning and development process of the city. Attention needs to be paid to the provision of quality health care, safe drinking water, garbage collection and disposal, and other basic amenities of life. The research highlighted the deficiencies and lapses in basic health facilities for most deserving and marginalized population of city. (Pak J Public Health 2012;2(2):31-5)
Key Words: Slums, Inequity, Health problems, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.