STATUS OF MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH IN AN URBAN SQUATTER SETTLEMENT OF KARACHI, PAKISTAN: RESULTS FROM A ROUND OF SURVEILLANCE
Background: Rapid urbanization has led to emergence of squatter settlements with poor infrastructure and compromised basic amenities. These conditions expose vulnerable groups like women and children to serious health risks. This paper presents the status of maternal and child health in a squatter settlement of Karachi.
Methods: Health and Demographic Surveillance System was established in Sultanabad, a squatter settlement of Karachi. Households were eligible to be enrolled if there was a married woman of 15-49 years of age. Data on socio-demographic, maternal and child health indicators was collected during a round of surveillance using a structured questionnaire adapted from Measure Demographic and Health Survey Phase III and Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-13. Analysis was done using SPSS version 19.
Results: A total of 730 women completed the interview. Among them 87% women sought antenatal care during last pregnancy and 79% of the women delivered in a facility. Contraceptive prevalence rate was 32%. Proportion of children exclusively breast fed till six months of age was 63%. Almost 86% children of 12-23 months were fully immunized. Prevalence of stunting among children under five was 40%.
Conclusion: In Sultanabad, maternal and child health indicators were relatively better as compared to national statistics. However in the presence of available health facilities, the low contraceptive prevalence and high proportion of stunted children in the community is alarming. This requires urgent attention primarily addressing social determinants of health within the local context.
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