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UP girls face gender bias in health care right from start

UP girls face gender bias in health care right from start Published Date : 09 May 2018
LUCKNOW: Sick Newborn Care Units (SNCUs) in Uttar Pradesh have provided new evidence of the deep-rooted patriarchy prevalent in the state. An assessment of SNCU health data revealed that fewer girls were admitted to the SNCUs as compared to boys.
The average rate of female admission to the SNCU over the past five years is 37%, which is lower than the expected average of 45% for India. The state health department collaborated with UNICEF to study the reasons behind the trend. Initial findings of the qualitative assessment blamed “low value of the girl child” for the problem. “Figures suggest that out of every 100 children being admitted to an SNCU, 45 should be girls (going by the country’s sex ratio and given that girls are biologically stronger than boys). So, when the girls didn’t reach the SNCU, the department commissioned a study,” said Dr Anil Verma, general manager (child health), national health mission, UP.

“Interviews with over two dozen families in some low scoring districts showed the presence of marked genderbased differential when it came to how the male newborn is treated versus the female newborn. Significant gender differentials prevail on newborn care,” said Kanupriya Singhal, specialist in health with UNICEF.

The women expressed their feelings with responses like “ladka ho gaya to nachenge, gayenge, dhol bajayenge, aur ladki ho gayi to kuch nahin (they will sing and dance if it is boy, while no celebrations are organized for the daughter)” and “ladki kisko pyari hai (girl child is dear to none)”.
While women believed that this should not be the case, they felt helpless as they had no decision-making power on such issues. One of the respondents stated that “hum na kamate hain, na kuch kar sakte hai (we don’t earn and so we are a liability)”.
The findings also showed that on an average, five out of 10 baby girls were discharged against medical advice. There have been instances where the staff tried to counsel the families, but to no avail. “We remind the mothers that a woman must stand for another woman, but families often don’t listen. On several occasions, the baby’s mother cries but mothers-in-law and even husbands insist on discharge,” admitted a health staff in the survey.
The difference in rituals based on gender was also noted. If the newborn was a male, families celebrated with neighbours and relatives and lavishly organized the ‘chhatti’ (on the sixth day) ceremony. But for a girl, a low-key ceremony is organized on the fifth day.
Source:https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/up-girls-face-gender-bias-in-health-care-right-from-start/articleshow/63993716.cms