Women in rural Karnataka are still hesitant when it comes to opting for professional healthcare services
According to a report by the National Institute of Advanced Studies, fewer women in rural areas in Karnataka seek medical help. The report states that 12 percent women in rural Karnataka have had a miscarriage; however, only three to five percent approached a doctor. 63 percent delivered at home with untrained attendants and in unsanitary conditions. As a result of this, 73 percent experienced puerperal and post-partum health risks.
Dr. Poornima Jayadeva, a doctor in Bengaluru, working towards the health of rural women said, “They do not have money to go to a hospital, because they have to depend on their husbands for money also. And usually husbands take their wife only when she’s very sick, when she is bed-ridden, otherwise they won’t take.”
She further stated, “While there is an improvement in women availing healthcare services, there still are certain issues. Relatives and family members do not take them to hospitals much; it is the ASHA workers and anganwadi workers who spend their own money in order to bring them to the hospitals.”
This is despite women needing more care than men. As mentioned in the report, the issues include 28 percent more fever, 17 percent more aches and pains, and 9 percent more respiratory illness, etc. Due to the kind of work they do, like cooking using charcoal and wood, the smoke leads to certain respiratory ailments.
Nagaveni, a rural woman from Golahalli said, “I prefer ayurveda more than English medicines. Whenever I am sick I use Ayurveda only; I don’t go to the hospital.”
She further added, “I don’t go to doctor much. I have knee pain but I use Ayurveda/home remedies instead. Men of my house visit doctors more often than I do. It’s been like this only always.”
The absence of timely medical care and not trusting professional healthcare services are some of the main reasons for rural women not opting for modern healthcare options. Experts say that this varies according to factors.
Vaibhav Agavene, a public health researcher from the Institute of Public Health said, “There are many rural women still that don’t go for health-care services. This is due to various factors and circumstances like societal, geographical, and educational. Also what position she has within the society also determines whether she has that decision making power or not. There are proven ways of ensuring that services are accessible in general through frontline health workers. So these types of approaches should be strengthened by the government which will help women.”
Women in rural areas do not have enough money for medical care, forcing them to opt for low-cost services.