Caste filters into hospitals, affects pregnant women

Jan 19, 2018

MYSURU: One more survey has confirmed the allegations that even pregnant women and newborn babies face caste-based discrimination while receiving quality medical care at the time of delivery and post delivery.
A study on Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) assisted under the NRHM programme in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, showed that discrimination persists in hospitals. It was conducted by D C Nanjunda, associate professor, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, University of Mysore,

In Karnataka, 39.8% of health workers avoid touching mothers and newborns depending on the mother’s caste background, 9.1% newborn babies and pregnant women get indifferent treatment because of the caste issue, compared to others in Karnataka.

The survey found that untouchability is a problem faced by around 42.1% mothers and newborns across these three states.

D C Nanjunda told TOI that the study, funded by ICMR, New Delhi, was carried out from 2015 to 2017. It said that among the beneficiaries, 13.5% of women from Karnataka delivered via C-section, while it is 60.3% in Tamil Nadu and 26.7% in Andhra Pradesh.

As per the study, in these three states, among the JSY beneficiaries, only 1.6% pregnant women delivered at home. The remaining are institutional deliveries.

Increased awareness

According to the study, 92.2% JSY beneficiaries from Karnataka said they opted for institutional deliveries as it is safe for both mother and child, while 7.8% respondents said they opted for institutional deliveries due to previous complicated deliveries.

In Karnataka, 88.2% women consume 100 IFA tablet and 99.4% newborns receive BCG and polio. On the flip side, 34% beneficiaries informed that they faced problems getting JSY benefits, and 83.2% of women didn’t receive travel expenditure.