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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 140-144

Health profile of women ragpicker members of a nongovernmental organization in Mumbai, India


1 Department of Community Medicine, Grant Government Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Pallavi A Uplap
Department of Community Medicine, Grant Government Medical College, Mumbai - 400 08, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.146912

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Background: In India, ragpickers form the base of hierarchy of informal sector of the solid waste management. Assessment of general and gender specific health of women is conducted in this study in view of dearth of published evidence. Materials and Methods: An interventional study was conducted from October 2003 to April 2005 in Mumbai, at the field office of a nongovernmental organization working for women ragpickers. By the systematic random sampling 168 women ragpickers were selected. Both general and gender-specific health needs of this socially and occupationally marginalized group, including health seeking behavior were explored in this study. Fourteen participants were trained as health volunteers to create awareness in the local community. The data was analyzed by using SPSS version 11.0 software program (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA). Results: Marriage at young age, multiple pregnancies, low preference toward temporary methods of contraception, high addiction were prevalent in this lower socioeconomic young workforce. Morbidity was statistically significant among ragpickers who collected rags along dumpsite than street side and door to door waste collectors (χ2 = 27.8; df = 2; P < 0.001 significant). A need-based training program helped to improve knowledge of the participants [z = 12.7 (P < 0.05)]. Conclusions: Unfulfilled health needs of this underprivileged workforce who contributes to the ecology and economy of the city need to be addressed. Sensitization of both general public and government is essential to legitimize this occupation. This in turn may help to alleviate poverty and environmental degradation; characteristic of rapid and unplanned urbanization in India.






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