Thursday 1 June 2023 \


20% Muslim women in slums face health risks: Survey

Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan survey throws up shocking health care facts; most complain of no access to free medication and lack of clean toilets.

Approximately 20 per cent Muslim women in city’s slums suffer from prolonged illness. While 6 per cent suffer from high blood pressure, 8 per cent have diabetes, tuberculosis and thyroid malfunction and 3 per cent suffer from asthma, kidney stones and skin problems.

Commissioned by the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission, the findings of a first-of-its kind survey conducted by Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) highlights poor health conditions among Muslim women in slums like Behrampada, Bharatnagar, Garibnagar, Jogeshwari, Kalina, Mahim, Navpada, Andheri Dongar and Gyaneshwar Nagar. Titled ‘Health Status of Muslim Women-A Short Study’, the survey reveals that lack of easy access to health care services has also led to daily painkiller consumption by 18 per cent of Muslim women residing in these slums.

For the survey, the BMMA spoke to 250 women about general, reproductive and mental health and found that most of them also complain about poor access to toilets and health care centres.

Random sampling of these slums also threw up some other shocking facts – 22 per cent women from these slums do not get three square meals a day; 53 per cent do not get sunlight in their houses; while 32 per cent visit government health posts, three per cent visit hakeem or other unrecognised health specialists. As many suffer from body and joint pains, 12 per cent take painkillers at least twice a week and 26 per cent take painkillers at least once a month. According to the survey, 72 per cent women do not use any family planning methods. While 38 per cent got pregnant for the first time between the age of 15 and 20 years, 16 per cent conceived for the first time between 21 and 25 years; 35 per cent did not get pregnant at all.

Of prime concern for all female residents of these slums is that there are no public toilets in Garibnagar. While Kalina toilets are neither free nor clean, Mahim has 10 toilets but are used by people from three areas and no one comes to clean them. Navpada has only two public toilets and Gyaneshwar Nagar has three, but all of them are paid.

On top of the demands is access to free medication and better behaviour and handling at the government health care centres and hospitals. According to BMMA’s Dr Noorjehan Safia, the survey has revealed lack of community support and the fact that Muslims stay in ghettos which are neglected by the government machinery. “It is the state’s responsibility to provide health facilities,” she said.

Maharashtra State Women’s Commission’s chairperson, Vijaya Rahatkar, who recently received the report from BMMA, admitted being shocked by the state of health of Muslim women. “I am studying the report in detail. These women can’t speak about their poor health openly. We want them to come forward and talk about it. We will pay special attention to them and make recommendations to the government for improvement in health care facilities,” Rahatkar said.


We recommend

Social Networks