Sunday, March 11, 2007

Decreasing Sex Ratio and Pregnant Women's Attitude Towards Female Foeticide

Discussion article - The purpose to put this article on blog was to make available the relevant information in public domain and to invoke discussions on its findings..

Nursing Journal of India, Apr 2005 by Sarna, Kamla

A descriptive study to assess the knowledge about decreasing sex ratio and attitude towards female foeticide of pregnant women attending antenatal OPD in a selected hospital in Ludhiana, Punjab. The Constitution of India guarantees equality to women. It empowers the states to adopt measures for affirmative discrimination in favor of women and also impose a fundamental duty on its citizens to uphold the dignity of women but despite all this, India's deep rooted "sons only" ethos continues and girls and women face inequity and inequality everywhere. They are devalued as human beings from the day they are born. But what is worse is that they are even denied the right to be born, if their families do not wish them to be born.

New developments in medical technology have helped to improve health care for millions of people. One cheap and widely available test can determine the sex of the child. There is gross misuse of reproductive technology in a society characterized by a strong bias against a female child. The census report of 2001 presents a grim reality indicating an imbalance in the ratio of female and male. It is a common fact that the sex ratio in India is lower than international standards i.e. sex ratio in India is 933 while the world average is 986 (Dutta, 2001 ).
Number of causes are responsible for the continuous decline in the sex ratio e.g. poverty, illiteracy, culture and preference for male child etc. The discrepancy in the sex ratio in the lowest age group is found in most prosperous areas of IndiaPunjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana and Chandigarh. All these states have sex ratio of less than 900 females to 1000 males below the age of six.

The declining sex ratio could result in a demographic and social disaster. In such a situation it is the primary duty of the health professionals to provide proper information to the general public about the declining sex ratio and its affects in India. The present study was undertaken in order to determine to what extent the pregnant women are oriented to the actual problem of declining sex ratio and also to ascertain their attitude towards female foeticide.

Objectives of the Study

1. To assess the knowledge of pregnant women about decreasing sex ratio.
2. To assess the attitude of pregnant women towards female foeticide.
3. To find out the relationship of attitude of pregnant women towards female foeticide with variables i.e. age, education, religion, occupation, married for years, family income, type of family, residence and source of information etc.

Materials and Methods

A descriptive study approach was used to conduct the study, which was conducted in Antenatal OPD of Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana. Purposive random sampling technique was used for selection of sample. The population consisted of 50 pregnant women attending OPD. The time period of study was from 1.6.2002 to 15.7.2002. The technique and methods used were structured questionnaire was developed based on review of literature. It ' consisted of three parts.

The first part consisted of items for obtaining personal information about age, education, religion, occupation, married for years, family income, and type of family and source of information. The second part consisted of statements to find our knowledge of clients about sex ratio, decreasing ratio, causes of declining sex ratio and affects and problems related to female foeticide. The statements were developed for the respondents to respond on 'Yes' or 'No' or 'Do not know' basis. Each correct response was given one score and wrong response was not given any score. Hence maximum score was 20 for twenty statements and minimum score was zero.
Assessing the attitude is an important aspect because attitude , may differ from individual to individual; attitude is concerned with the beliefs, interests, ideas of person and also to the behavior of the person. The third part deals with the statements regarding assessment of attitude of pregnant women towards female foeticide. The statements were developed for the respondents to respond on five point Likert scale i.e. strongly agree, , agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree. There were total 20 statements, which include 10 negative and 10 positive statements. For positive statements, the responses qualified by giving score as SA - 5, agree -4, U-3, DA - 2, SDA- 1. Negative statements scored reversely. Hence maximum score was 100 and minimum score 20.

Findings and Discussions

Sample Characteristics:
Majority of the clients were in the age group of 21-30 years (72%) followed by 24% in the age group of 3 1 -40( years and only 4% above 40 years. 48% of them were the academic qualification of plus two and above, 30% were illiterate and 22% had passed 10th class. Most of women were Hindus (48%), followed by Sikhs 32%, Christians 14% and Muslims only 6%. Majority of women (76%), were housewives and 24% were professionals. Maximum number of women (66%) were married for 1-9 years, 30% of women married for 10-19 years and 4% married for more than 20 years. 54% of them were having family income 5001-10000, 36% had income less than 5000 and only 10% were with income more than 10,000. Most of women (72%) resided in urban area and 28% belonged to rural areas. For 62% source of information was mass media (TV, newspapers and radio etc.) and 38% got information from rela-tives.