IDENTIFYING BOTTLENECKS FOR APPROPRIATE INFANT FEEDING IN URBAN SLUMS, ALIGARH CITY.
Introduction: Urban population is increasing rapidly. Majority of these families are poor or landless farmers and labourers, who settle down in peri-urban areas, creating slums. Urban slums are thus growing at an alarming rate. The present study was carried out with the general objective of identifying factors which prevent access to health services. Objectives: 1. To determine the prevalence of stunting, wasting, and underweight in infants and young children. 2. To determine presence of certain micro-environmental and socioeconomic factors associated with poor nutritional status of infants and children. Methodology: Baseline study was carried out in Oct –Nov 2009 (as a part of another ongoing study) and data was collected in 110 Mothers who had delivered children during the last one month. In Oct 2010 these families were visited again the infants were followed up. 39 families had shifted to another location or emigrated back to their parent state or village mostly in search of seasonal employment as reported by neighbours. One family refused to cooperate. . Two infants had died. Remaining 68 Mothers were interviewed in friendly informal manner after taking consent for study. Results: (35.4%) study subjects had migrated to other areas, as reported by neighbours. Of the 68 mothers interviewed during follow up visit, previous baseline record showed that a majority were 20-30 years of age. , only 2 mothers (2.9%) had exclusively breastfed for 6 months. 46 (67.6%) said they had not been contacted by any health worker during the last 3 months. All 68 children were malnourished. Immunization status was poor and 94.1% children had suffered from some illness in the last one month. Conclusion: Migration is a problem which makes it difficult for providers to give continuity of care. Capacity building of the community can reduce the the bottlenecks leading to marginalization and exclusion of slum mothers from the mainstream urban health services.